photo by andy watson ÂŠ www.bullstockmedia.com
Exploring Life & Land in Southwest Montana
the story of yogo sapphires
Not an ordinary a n g l e r
professional spot bull riders boats, bacon tour p.28 & big drops escape: Grand Canyon
Tom thorton outlaw: artist & calamity jane storyteller renewable energy in southwest montana explorebigsky.com
The edge of the Wild: The ultimate recreation property
erhaps it’s time to let your body wander along with your mind. Let us introduce you to one of our unique properties. LIFE WIDE OPEN
Big Sky, Montana
The Club at Spanish Peaks
Moonlight Basin Ranch
Have you ever driven home as the evening sunlight washes over the vast valley below while noticing a heard of grazing elk on the ridge just above? Or simply watch your kids wrestle with their first pair of snowshoes? As Montana’s premier real estate brokerage, we not only introduce clients to a new home, but a whole new lifestyle. Maybe it’s time for you to close your eyes and plan on opening them here.
Marilyn Walsh Broker 406.580.4242
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Sandy Revisky Broker, CRS, GRI 406.539.6316
Branif Scott Broker 406.579.9599
Ania Bulis Broker 406.580.6852
Jackie Miller Managing Broker 406.539.5003
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46 77 74 26 62 28 32
On the cover: The Professional Bull Riders Tour will be in Livingston July 27 and Big Sky on August 3. pbrnow.com
Pebble Creek Camp and Cutoff Mountain in Yellowstone - story on p. 30 photo by Brandy Ladd
28 on the edge of your seat
Survey of renewable energy in Southwest Montana
The “most exciting, dangerous sport in the world,” Professional Bull Riding comes to Montana
32 Rockin h-k
62 Escape: the grand canyon
The story of a 21-day raft trip of a lifetime
Follow a local camp jack’s trail ride through Yellowstone backcountry
Q&A with singer/songwriter, Jessica Kilroy of Eureka, Montana
36 blue gold
Rare Yogo Sapphires, found only in a remote Montana mine
40 the lot at the edge of the wild Skiing, fly fishing and horseback riding, all on one ski mountain estate
Cloe erickson’s morocco
a first ascent
rapelje bike race
Bud LIlly’s true story of war and baseball
fishing with jackson
mile marker 47
big timber creek
A serious place to kayak
92 Harvest in Southwest montana
environment whitebark pines and the mountain pine beetle
Artist and cowboy tom thornton
Welcome to the summer edition of Mountain Outlaw. On behalf of the Outlaw Partners team, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make this one of the largest and most successful regional magazines in Southwest Montana. It’s amazing to think that over 250,000 people from around the globe read our winter 2010/11 edition. The mystique of the lifestyle here is contagious, and our team is all infected. It takes many hands and eyes to produce a magazine like this, and I’d like to take a moment in thanking the writers, photographers, editors and advertisers who make this publication a reality. In particular, I would like to thank our graphic design team who designed this magazine, Kelsey & Mike, you rock! I hope the stories and photos here offer a moment of escape for you. Much thanks,
Eric Ladd CEO Outlaw Partners
Eric in a moment of ‘escape’ in the Grand Canyon. Photo by Matty McCain
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from the Editor
Blue afternoon sky reflected in the clear water, and steam rose off the surface. I closed my eyes as I slipped into the outdoor pool. A light breeze swept across the valley. Origi-
nally visited by Native Americans on annual mountain crossings, the springs bubble from the ground at temperatures between 120 and 182 degrees. The hotel at Boulder Hot Springs was founded in the early 1880s as a retreat for miners and ranchers, and in 1909, the building and baths were rebuilt in California Mission style. A plaque outside the main building explains this spot is registered as a national historic property and is being restored: “The significance of Boulder Hot Springs … lies in its environment, its open spaces, clean air, clear skies, the healing powers of its waters and in the quiet solitude and splendor of the mountains captured in the elegance and grace of the old hotel.”
Emily climbing old grain silos near Bozeman. Photo by Nick Wolcott
Drive an hour from your home in Southwest Montana (or walk out your back door), and you’ll end up on an adventure: skiing on Beartooth Pass, walking the ghost town boardwalks at Bannock, watching the Livingston rodeo, fishing the Madison
River, horse packing in Yellowstone, hiking in the Spanish Peaks, digging crystals outside of Polaris, or visiting the Pioneer museum in Bozeman. You could take a different trip every weekend, meeting people in each community. Mountain ranges and open roads geographically separate Southwest Montana’s small towns, but we are not disconnected. We have in common an appreciation for hard work, a love of the outdoors, a sense of community and a need for education. If you like Mountain Outlaw magazine, pick up the Big Sky Weekly or visit explorebigsky.com, our other outlets for news, business and human interest stories from Southwest Montana. Have a suggestion or want to get involved? Let us know – Best, Emily Stifler Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler Allen grew up in Vermont and began exploring Montana in the summer of 2000. Since graduating college in 2004, he’s spent winters skiing in the Wasatch and summers guiding rivers in Oregon and Idaho. He finally settled in Bozeman in 2008, and with the plethora of mountains, rocks and rivers, he’ll find it hard to ever leave. When he isn’t pretending to be working, Will Casella spends his time driving around Montana with a fly rod, tent and camera. His passion for travel (and fly fishing) has suckered him into being employed in places like Russia, Mongolia, England, New Zealand, Belize and the Bahamas. He recently gave up regular pay checks and started Phasmid Rentals in Bozeman, which provides outfitted rental vehicles, camping and fly fishing gear, and travel planning services to outdoor enthusiasts. Sharlyn Izurieta has been the Watershed Coordinator for the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council since 2008. Previously, she spent 15 years working in International Education at Colorado State University and Montana State University, and was Co-Director of the American Cultural Exchange - Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University. She has a BA in English Literature from MSU-Bozeman, an MA from the University of Northern Colorado in Special Education, and an MA in Geography from the University of Wyoming.
Montana native Felicia Ennis lives in Livingston. Through her travel company, Bella Treks, she designs customized travel plans to Antarctica, Alaska, the Arctic, Argentina, Chile, the Galapagos, Morocco, Peru and around Montana. East Coaster Victor DeLeo has lived in Southwest Montana since 1999. In summer, when he is not biking or working on his flip-flop tan, the part-time writer avoids high fructose corn syrup and enjoys a nicely pressed shirt. Photo by Kene Sperry After 16 years of living in the Gallatin Canyon, Jason Frounfelker, a.k.a. “Frouny,” values his play time and welcomes the adventures he will share with his wife Erika. He won Mountain Outlaw’s Write and Win contest with his kayaking story, “Big Timber Creek — boats, bacon and big drops” on page 24. Mauray Miller has lived in Yellowstone National Park and the greater Yellowstone area since 1972. She raised a family here, and has worked as a nurse and a greenhouse gardener. She lives in Gardiner, Montana and loves the outdoors.
Loren Rausch grew up in Shepherd, Montana, in the shadow of the Beartooth Mountains, and has climbed throughout the lower 48, in Alaska and Nepal. He graduated from MSU Bozeman in 2006 with a double major in Biomedical and Organismal biology. He is currently back in school, studying General Science BroadfieldSecondary Education. His vices are Yerba Mate, sushi and hot tang, and his blog is yerbaman.blogspot.com. Photo by Katie Miller
Tom Thornton was born in Sydney, Montana and studied art and bronze casting at MSU, Bozeman. He spent 25 years in the Judith Mountains north of Lewistown, ranching, raising a family and operating his own foundry. He now lives in South Cottonwood Canyon, south of Bozeman, where he makes bronzes (both Western and contemporary), paints, and enjoys the traditional and inherited art of storytelling with word, image and sculpture. His work is at Cottonwood Gallery, a space shared with his partner, artist Tina DeWeese. Gervaise Purcell was raised in the Washington D.C. area. Back East, he worked as a cartographer with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and with a number of software startups. Never able to shake Thoreau, he and his wife Deborah moved to Southwest Montana in 2005. Gervaise now lives as a fishing guide.
are always here,
the trick is to make sure are too. Hervey Voge
CEO, PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Eric Ladd COO & SENIOR EDITOR Megan Paulson
MANAGING EDITOR Emily Stifler
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Martins
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kelsey Dzintars
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EDITOR Abigail Digel
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DISTRIBUTION Danielle Chamberlain
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Tyler Allen, Pete Bolane, Bull Stock Media, Will Casella, Michael Clark, Chris Clasby, Mike Coil, Brenden Dalin, Victor DeLeo, Felicia Ennis, Kristoffer Erickson, Jason Frounfelker, Nate Garcia, Royce Gorsuch, Brian Hurlbut, Sam Isham, Sharlyn Izurieta, Brandy Ladd, Ken Lancey, Matty McCain, Joe Miller, Mauray Miller, Gervaise Purcell, Loren Rausch, Shawn Robertson, Barbara Rowley, Matt Rothschiller, Tom Thornton, Austin Trayser, Gregg Treinish, Nick Wolcott EDITORIAL POLICY
Outlaw Partners LLC is the sole owner of Mountain Outlaw magazine and the Big Sky Weekly. No part of this publication may be reprinted without written permission from the publisher. Mountain Outlaw magazine reserves the right to edit all submitted material for content, corrections or length. Printed material reflects the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the opinion of Outlaw Partners or the editors of this publication. No advertisements, columns, letters to the editor or other information will be published that contain discrimination based on sex, age, race, religion, creed, nationality, sexual preference, or are in bad taste. For editorial queries or submissions, please contact emily@ theoutlawpartners.com.
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Distributed twice a year in towns across Southwest Montana, including Big Sky, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Three Forks, Livingston and Ennis. We also distribute nationally through direct mail. Mountain Outlaw can also be found at explorebigsky.com.
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Leave this one alone:
Boechera fecunda (sapphire rockcress)
Zigadenus elegans (mountain death-camas)
Endemic to Montana Threatened due to its restricted habitats that are actively encroached upon by spotted knapweed. Found only in certain locations in Southwest Montana between 5000 - 8000.’
Found in open moist sites from the foothills to the alpine from Alaska to New Mexico (5000-10000’). All parts of this plant are poisonous and said to be more deadly than the poison strychnine. Two bulbs of this plant, cooked or raw, can kill a person.
*Source: MTNHP Plant Species of Concern. Pictures and more information at http://fieldguide.mt.gov/detail_PDBRA06290.aspx
*Kershaw, L., MacKinnon, A., and Pojar, J. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. 1998 Lone Pine Publishing. Pictures: http://fieldguide.mt.gov/detail_PMLIL28030.aspx
one you can pick: Myosotis asiatica (mountain forgetme-not) Found from Alaska to Wyoming in warm open fields in the montane to alpine elevations (5000-10000’). Extremely common. Collect its wild seeds to start growing this plant in your own garden. A medieval German knight is said to have been picnicking on the bank of the Danube with his lover. He descended the bank to the water’s edge to gather some of the blue flowers he saw, but while he was near the water, a flash flood suddenly appeared and pulled the young man into the water. As he was swept away, he tossed the bouquet to his love on the bank with the three now-famous words: “Forget me not!” wildflowerinformation.org *Kershaw, L., MacKinnon, A., and Pojar, J. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. 1998 Lone Pine Publishing. Pictures and more information: http://fieldguide.mt.gov/detail_PDBOR0P030.aspx
By Sam Isham, Ecologist Montana Natural Heritage Program
Check this out! go ahead, try it!
Corallorhiza maculata (spotted coralroot)
Veronica americana (American speedwell) Found across the West, this plant is small and showy. All parts are edible. It is usually best if the plant is eaten before flowering, as it becomes bitter after it has flowered. Most recommend that it be eaten in a salad, like watercress, and it is believed to help with digestion. Grows at all elevations. *Kershaw, L., MacKinnon, A., and Pojar, J. Plants of the Rocky mMuntains. 1998 Lone Pine Publishing. http://fieldguide. mt.gov/detail_PDSCR20030.aspx
This orchid is found in multiple low elevation habitats (up to 5000’) from Canada to New Mexico. Considered saprophytic, the plant lacks all chlorophyll and therefore does not make any its own food. It absorbs its nutrients and carbohydrates right from decaying material below the surface and does not require leaves. *Kershaw, L., MacKinnon, A., and Pojar, J. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. 1998 Lone Pine Publishing.
Some of this information was obtained from the Montana National Heritage Program, which has resources available to the public. For more information on threatened and endangered species, visit mtnhp.org and check out the online field guide and web tracker application. explorebigsky.com
How do beaverslides
If you’ve driven back roads in Southwest Montana, you’ve seen the tall, triangular haying structures called beaverslides. Made of long sections of lodge pole pine, these mechanical hay-stacking devices are particularly common in the Big Hole and Beaverhead Valleys, and along the Little Blackfoot River. Most modern ranches use machinery to bale hay in tight marshmallow-shaped rolls, but some rural farmers still build and use beaverslides to stack massive piles of hay weighing 15-20 tons. Hay stacked this way forms a weatherproof crust, and will keep for three to four years, or more.
Looking past a Beaverslide to Beaverhead Rock and Tobbaco Root Mountains. Photo by Robert Van Deren, openaranch.com
The exact origin of the beaverslides is unclear. Some say D.J. Stephens and Herb Armtage invented them circa 1908 in the Big Hole Valley. Other sources say the Oregon Extension Service had drawn up early plans for them.
How do they work?
Hay is stacked on the flat fork, or basket, at the bottom. Cables run from each side of the basket up through pulleys at the top corners of the tall frame. A team of horses (or a tractor PTO) pulls the cables, the basket is raised and the fork lifted vertically. The hay slides off the basket and falls through the opening at the top of the frame. The main section is built of two green 55-62’ poles. The 15-20’ span between is called the floor, and is constructed of 40’ long slats. The backstop is the frame of 24 x 20’ poles, which forms a right triangle with the floor and the slide. Illustration by Tracey Saxby, IAN Image Library (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/displayimage-5637.html)
Today, families design slides according to their haying terrain, so size, length, steepness, backstop size, and capacity of the slides all vary. Some are made of metal.
Another kind of beaver slide: According to Beaverslide Dry Goods, many businesses at the turn of the century on the Rocky Mountain Front bore the name Beaver Slide, “in reference to the slick, muddy trails that beavers made along the river banks.” Main Street in “wild and unruly” Dupuyer, Montana was home to the Beaver Slide Restaurant, the Beaver Slide Saloon and the Beaver Slide Sample House. Reportedly, the saloon had a man-made “beaver slide” running from the back door to the creek, designed to sober up unruly drunks. 10 Mountain
Copies can be purchased from the Thompson-Hickman County Library in Virginia City (406) 843-5346, firstname.lastname@example.org, or at area bookstores. All proceeds will be donated to the Library building addition.
It takes all kinds
Vigilantes, miners, ladies, ‘Celestials,’ and sly businessmen... “It takes all kinds to make a world, and we’ve got ‘em all right here in Virginia City,” observed former Madison County Sheriff, “Pop” Brook. That remark inspired Bozeman native Dick Pace’s book, profiling some of Virginia City’s colorful characters over the last 100 years. Although Pace passed away before finishing, local historian Gary Forney used Pace’s outline and drafts to complete this token of Pace’s 40 year legacy living and working in Virginia City. It Takes All Kinds blends history, humor and tragedy in stories of the famous—and infamous—along with lesser-known personalities. Many have called this old town home, and thousands of annual visitors come through, but it’d be a different place without those profiled in this entertaining collection.
sounds of summer:
Classical Music Festival Coming to Big Sky By Brian Hurlbut Southwest Montana will see and hear a brand new event this summer, thanks to the Arts Council of Big Sky. The Big Sky Classical Music Festival, scheduled for August 12-14 in Big Sky’s Town Center Park, will bring together top national names and the best in regional talent for a weekend of free classical music.
“The support from the community has been incredible,” says the Arts Council’s Ginna Hermann. “We’re excited to be bringing these high-level musicians to Big Sky.”
M U S I C
F E S T I VA L
Perfomers include the internationally acclaimed Ahn Trio and the New York-based Cassatt String Quartet, with a special Sunday performance that will be announced soon. The festival has also received support from Big Sky Resort Tax, the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation and the Montana Department of Commerce, which has helped to make the entire weekend free. For more information, visit bigskyarts.org.
WHY BUY LOCAL?
According to the Ennis Chamber of Commerce, buying locally, and regionally in Southwest Montana, has many benefits: • Dollars stay in the community. For every $100 spent locally, at least $45 stays in the local economy. Compare that to $14 from nationally owned chain stores. • Consumers get better service from people who know their needs and wants and how to meet them. Local merchants stand behind their products. • Creates more local jobs. • Maintains local flavor in the community, and creates a unique environment – making Southwest Montana a destination. • Local food tastes better. • Strengthens local, sustainable agricultural communities.
To learn more about local food and produce, check out Matt Rothschiller’s article on page 92.
Greater Gallatin Watershed Council’s
Rain Garden Initiative By Sharlyn Izurieta Nearly 70 percent of stream pollution comes from urban stormwater runoff. Roofs and pavement prevent water from seeping into the water table. To prevent flooding, untreated storm water is usually directed to the nearest stream, where it flows out of the watershed.
But what if we trapped the flow, near its source – like a downspout off a roof – and channeled it into a depression filled with grasses, shrubs and perennial flowers? The resulting ‘pocket’ garden, or ‘rain garden’, retains and filters the water as it drains back to the water table, adds beauty to urban landscapes, and habitat for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects. A new and innovative way to improve water resources, the first rain gardens were designed and built in Maryland in 1990 by stormwater specialists. In Montana, interest in rain gardens is gaining momentum, with the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council (GGWC) leading the way. GGWC’s Rain Garden Initiative began in 2010 with the installation of a demonstration rain garden at Bozeman City Hall. The project was a collaboration between GGWC, the City of Bozeman and Sweet Pea’s Nursery. GGWC aims to build community gardens each year, as a means to keep water resources
healthy. As a part of the Initiative, two rain gardens will be installed in the Gallatin Watershed this year. The first is a cooperative project between GGWC, Bozeman School District and Arrowleaf Landscape Design at Sacajawea Middle School. The garden is being incorporated into a summer program for middle school students participating in STReaM (Summer Tutoring for Reading and Math). Teachers will incorporate hands-on activities and professional speakers into the curriculum, with support from GGWC. In addition, the rain garden will address local stormwater runoff and overland flow from nearby impervious surfaces and a sod farm. The second project is a collaboration between the Blue Water Task Force and Ophir School in Big Sky. Similar to the Sacajawea program, students from Ophir School will learn about rain gardens, water quality and stormwater issues in the Big Sky area.
improve water resources. Students participating in the Sacajawea Middle School program will design a walking tour brochure and educational signage. An open house or “dig day” is scheduled for June 28. Volunteers and community members will work sideby-side with students from STReaM to install the rain garden. The City Hall Demonstration Rain Garden will be part of the Emerson Cultural Center’s Garden Tour, August 19-20, in Bozeman. For more information or to become a donor, contact Sharlyn Izurieta, Watershed Coordinator, Greater Gallatin Watershed Council, at 219-3739 or info@ greatergallatin.org. For information or donations for the Ophir School project, contact Kristin Gardener, GGWC Board Member and Executive Director of the Blue Water Task at 993-2519 or email@example.com.
Both projects have activities planned to teach students and residents in the Gallatin watershed about stormwater, water quality and how rain gardens can
Cross-section of a typical rain garden
illustration by classic ink
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“A Sense of Place: The History of Big Sky” Chris Goode, a Lone Peak High School junior, premiered his film, “Sense of Place: The History of Big Sky,” on April 12 to a crowd of over 150 people at Big Sky Resort.
light is preventing development sprawl near Jack Creek. Charlie Callandar, a Yellowstone Club veteran, spoke about the Club’s progress since their financial difficulties.
“Big Sky was something before the resort was here,” said Goode. “I wanted to show that, and what it’s like to live here now.”
Goode’s research included studying the pages of history books, and working with Rick Graetz, who has penned multiple works on Montana history. He also shot aerial footage of the Jack Creek drainage, flying over Big Sky with Kevin Kelleher.
Goode conducted over 30 interviews, each lasting up to an hour. Steven Kircher, from Boyne (the corporation that has run Big Sky Resort for over 30 years) discussed the growth of the resort and the longer ski season. Lee Poole, the developer of Moonlight Basin, discussed conservation efforts and how Moon-
“There isn’t anything like this for Big Sky. It’s changed a lot in 40 years since Chet Huntley built the resort, and it will never be the same again,” said Goode. A.D.
Check out “Sense of Place: the History of Big Sky” from the Community Library, purchase a copy for a $25 donation to the Ophir School District Film/ Video Program by emailing mgoode@ ophirschool.org, purchase the film from local retailers, or view the film at explorebigsky.com.
Big Sky Community Library Celebrates Ten Years by Barbara Rowley The Big Sky Community Library is a bustling and growing success. Located in Ophir School, the library has a catalog of 15,000 items, 16 computers, a support base of 200 active volunteers, a beautiful memorial garden, and a lively weekly program that includes story times and guest speakers.
The school-community library partnership is unusual—only one other library in Montana employs it. But it’s logical and successful, said library founders, and it saved money they would have spent on a new building. “From the temporary worker to kids, you see every walk of Big Sky life in our library,” says Resort Tax Chair Al Ma-
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linowski. This, he says, is one of the reasons Resort Tax supports the library. As the library enters its second decade, plans are to keep growing and improving. A Junior Friends of the Library program designed for teens is in the works. The Memorial Shelf fundraiser has over 200 shelves named and continues to grow. The recently constructed French/Tuohy
Memorial Garden will be host to future programs. “The Friends of the Library can always use more help,” said FOL Chair, Kay Reeves. There are many ways to get involved, from the Books for Soldiers program, to helping shelve books, to stopping by used book sales at the Farmers’ Market. The Friends are always seeking new members and memberships. bigskylibrary.org
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Fishing with Jackson
Every day a new dawn As another hot summer day cools, Larry, Jackson and I are stowing gear in the drift boat, affectionately known as the Dancing Bear. Father and son, they’ve come out from Maryland to fish for a week. For 11-year-old Jackson, this is all new.
Catching our excitement, Jackson asks about tomorrow’s trip. “Where are we fishing? How long will we be gone?” We explain we’re headed out early, to the Yellowstone River, and we’ll be out all day.
Larry and I are old friends and have been planning this trip for months. As dusk falls, we’re a few beers deep now, and we’re raving. The evening glow exaggerates the memories we recount of our first fishing experiences. Jackson tries to follow along. We’re anxious to impart our enthusiasm, hoping he, too, will develop our passion and begin the lifelong journey that is fly fishing.
The next morning is less focused. Larry and I are up and moving, but Jackson, approaching the rhythms of his teens, is slow to wake. On our drive to the Yellowstone, he shakes off his growth hangover and asks many of the same questions.
We haven’t seen each other in too long, and our thoughts boil with excitement streaming out in a torrent of Latin and arcane language: Baetiscidae, Trichoptera, Royal Wolff, Single Haul, Leisenring Lift. Our fervor grows with the pile of empties. We start into fishing access: success in protecting the waterways has moved attention to fishing access rights, the next great battle. Montana’s Stream Access Law is the gold standard, yet even it is under constant attack. Southwest Montana is a region built on fly fishing, home to world class companies like Winston Rods in Twin Bridges, RO drift boats in Bozeman, and Simms, the only company manufacturing waders in the U.S. Ours is a flourishing tourism economy, boosting the state’s well being and rising with the return of healthy waterways.
We launch the Dancing Bear to a beautiful dawn, and our morning is consumed not in the glory of flashing rainbow trout, but in mastering the learning curve. Larry and I want Jackson to succeed so much we smother him with instruction and good cheer. We discuss hoppers and droppers, explain the nuances of river etiquette, and expound on the holistic nature of our sport. Jackson
View of Emigrant Peak
By Gervaise Purcell catches nothing. His good humor remains intact, but his focus slips. Dark clouds build through the morning then explode into a thundering hailstorm. Rowing toward shore, we hunker down against a cut bank, which offers no real shelter. Jackson plays in the falling hailstones, laughing as though in a summer snow shower. The hailstones grow larger, and Larry and I exchange anxious looks. Should we flip the boat for cover? How large will they get? Could they knock a grown man out? We fend off golf balls, and Jackson hunkers beneath us. Then the storm slackens. Larry and I survey the Dancing Bear for damage, but the sky clears, and Jackson is all energy, hunting the stream bank for cool rocks. He finds a garter snake. A lightness of heart prevails that had been missing in the crush to fish.
Jackson, Larry and Gervaise fishing on the Yellowstone River
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Gervaise and Larry
Continued from page 24 After lunch, we shove off for the afternoon’s angling. As quickly as the weather clears, so does our mood and attention. Despite better judgment, Larry and I serenade Jackson with old Motown hits. The morning’s laser-like focus on casting Larry’s hopper/dropper rig to all the right spots has turned into a festive hunting expedition. Larry pounds a natural Zonker against the banks, stripping it like a man possessed. With a flash of silver yellow, the fight begins. A beautiful brown breaks the water and a tail dances across our bow. Jackson is at the heart of the struggle, videotaping Larry versus the trout. I row toward the shallows. Larry’s fight with the brown trout captivates Jackson’s growing curiosity. He casts with renewed vigor.
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“Try behind that rock, on the right,” I advise. “No, I don’t get good drifts there. Row over to that line,” he says. I don’t agree, but Jackson has a program, and this is his trip.
“I got a strike!” he says. In the zone, he watches for another strike. Then, as we float downriver, his thoughts drift. “Why do trout eat grasshoppers?” he asks. “Why do fish strike behind rocks?” With Jackson concentrating on keeping his fly drag-free, we drift in the fading afternoon. I look up at Emigrant Peak, then across the river at the broad Paradise Valley. The dry wind cools my face and arms. “What’s a streamer?” Jackson asks, bringing me back. “Why am I fishing a hopper and not a streamer?” I start to explain the difference to him, but he cuts me off when he feels a tug on his line. “Was that a fish? What’s that bug?” Watching him, I think about my own experience. As I’ve grown older, I’ve focused on smaller details, and my view of the world has shrunk. But in youth, the thrill of discovery enlarged my scope—and ended up blowing my mind. Fishing with Jackson reminded me that every day of fishing is a new adventure.
A small town nurse delivers a big surprise by Mauray Miller When the phone rang at 3:40 a.m., I had a pretty good idea what the call was about. As the community health nurse in small, rural Gardiner, 20 years ago, I was on call 24/7. “We’re heading your way,” Bo Cleveland said. He sounded excited. “Meet us on the road.” His wife Liz was on her third child, and number two had come quickly, so we assumed number three would be another short labor. I put on clothes, grabbed my medical bag and hiked through the pitch dark to the highway. The moon had set hours ago, and it was a cool August night. We had 90 miles to drive to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. The Cleveland’s VW van pulled quickly to the side of the road, and I hopped into the front seat. In the middle row of seats, Liz was doing her Lamaze breathing. She appeared in control. As Bo pulled out onto the highway, I asked Liz about her contractions. She panted they were seven minutes apart—she thought. Good thing we’d packed the essentials a few weeks prior: space blanket, plastic tarp, towels, and most important, a strong, bright flashlight.
Amazing what a heavy foot and a clear road can do even in a VW van. Still, I knew we probably wouldn’t make it over Bozeman Pass before the delivery. At least we could proceed to the Livingston hospital. When I heard an expletive from our driver, I braced Liz for the swerve I figured would dodge a deer. But a deer was not the problem. Red and blue strobe lights flashed through the van’s interior, and a siren’s wail pierced Liz’s heavy breathing. What could Bo do but pull over? As we came to a stop, he rolled down the window, stuck out his arm and waved to the deputy. “My wife’s in labor,” he shouted. “She’s about to give birth! We need to get to the hospital fast!”
Five minutes later, Liz started pushing. Bo pulled the car over again. His face was white.
the dark, 20 miles from town. Liz’s contractions were now three minutes apart. Thank goodness for the emergency kit.
“The emergency kit is still at home,” he said. I dug through my own emergency birth kit for a flashlight, but found nothing. At 4:20 a.m. in August, it was still dark, and birthing by Braille was not my first choice. VW’s from the ‘70s had a tiny dome light, which gave only a faint glow. Within minutes, 10-pound Addie Mauray Cleveland entered this world at mile marker 47, alongside U.S. Highway 89, right next to a field of pleasantly grazing cows. I secured the cord clamps, wrapped Addie in a blanket and snuggled her into her mother’s arms. We continued toward the hospital and topped Bozeman Pass at daybreak, the sunrise bathing us all in soft, pink light.
Slowly, the officer approached as Bo excitedly explained the situation. Slowly, the officer walked back toward the van’s center window and shined his bright flashlight inside. His eyes widened. “Get going,” he yelled, then ran back to his patrol car. Thank goodness, I thought. He’ll red light us all the way to the hospital.
Bo was handling the driving well, so 15 minutes in, I climbed back to the middle seat. The contractions were now only five minutes apart.
Bo pulled back out onto the highway carefully, so the patrolman could swing ahead and lead us in. But the cop’s headlights swung in a big arc, and his red taillights headed in the opposite direction, fast.
“Bo, could you drive a little faster?” I asked.
“He’s leaving us!” we shouted, in unison. We were on our own, in
For many years on Addie’s birthday, the Cleveland family visited mile marker 47 to celebrate. Each year, they took a photo, using the highway sign as their own personal growth chart.
Big Timber Creek
Boats, bacon and big drops on one of Montana’s most spectacular creeks By Jason Frounfelker
The ground is cold and hard at 7 a.m., and I’m having a difficult time getting up. My 6’4” body was not meant to sleep in a bivy sack. The pain in my head matches the feeling in my stomach—nervous excitement for today’s mission, combined with the beer I chugged from my neoprene river booty last night (traditional homage to the river gods for unintentionally exiting my kayak and swimming). I feel a little better after coffee, bacon and eggs. After cleaning up camp, I sling my favorite creek-boat on my back and start walking up the steep, rocky trail. The sound of Big Timber Creek, full of runoff, fills my ears. Passing Big Timber Falls, I stop to peer over the edge. The water cascades down the 60’ lead-in drop and rushes out of sight over the final 30’ waterfall. My pulse races and my stomach churns. Butterflies at full flutter, I continue up the trail, which only occasionally reveals the mysterious creek. Montana Surf On the east side of the Crazy Mountains, Big Timber Creek is a serious place to kayak, and a beautiful place to hike or backpack. The forested walk up from Half Moon Campground is gorgeous. According to montanaeddyhop. blogspot.com, “This run consists of unbelievable slides, boulder gardens, and waterfalls that will challenge and excite even the most experienced boaters… If you are up to it, this is arguably the best creek run in the state.” 26 Mountain
describes Big Timber as a “world class experience” descending over 700’ per mile and containing many class V-V+ rapids. These thoughts do not ease my trepidation. A resonance of rushing water filters through the woods again. The bacon has started to wear off as I approach the second bridge, and from this point it’s only a few hundred yards to the put-in. I’ll be relieved to stop carrying both my kayak and my angst, and excited to paddle one of Montana’s best creeks. There is no warm up. The first paddler heads straight for the narrow and rocky ‘No Worries Falls.’ He misses his roll after the first 15’ drop and goes over the next five-footer upside down. Out of his boat, he scrambles to shore with a bump to his cheek and ding to his pride. He elects the safer route of walking back down the trail. I’m next. I get just a few paddle strokes before the short free fall and face full of water. Instinctively, my body reacts to the pushing currents, and I slide gently down the second part of the drop. My apprehension lifts while I sit in the eddy and watch the next boat drop in. The others follow suit with successful lines. We sluice through the next rapid, ‘O’s Woe’s,’ and now we’re in the zone. We take turns scouting, walking around log-choked sections, and paddling between boulders.
Logistics: Class V - V+. Take I-90 to the Big Timber exit, and go north on the main road out of town. Follow signs for Big Timber Canyon and Half Moon Campground. This is where you start hiking. Scout thoroughly, as there often strainers. You can portage most rapids. photo by NATE GARCIA
After twisting through the tight slides of ‘Fine Line’ and ‘Triple Dipple,’ I enter ‘The Pinch’ with a newfound courage. I paddle hard, then the angle steepens. All I can see is horizon. My speed increases as I drop into a cliff-lined waterslide and then launch into the air. Barely keeping my boat pointed downstream, I scream, but nothing comes out. The canyon walls narrow, and I shoot out into a pool. Next it’s an S-bend double drop and then ‘The Gambler,’ which is named for the hole that often holds at least one weary kayaker. We exit safely, but it feels like another close escape. The bridge comes into sight. I sigh, and calming relief covers me. I exit my boat and offer to run to safety for anyone brave enough to hit Big Timber Falls. We all opt to sit in the sun and enjoy the impressive waterfall from the shore. Maybe next time. Jason Frounfelker (aka Frouny) is the winner of Mountain Outlaw’s Write and Win contest. Want to be published in the winter edition? Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
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story By Abbie Digel photos courtesy of bull stock media eau Hill is making cookies for his daughter’s school event. It’s easy to imagine him wearing chaps and a cowboy hat while he measures sugar and cracks eggs into a bowl. Hill is a family man—he and Keri, his wife of 10 years, have three young children and live in Columbia Falls, not far from Glacier National Park. Keri is an esthetician at the Beauty Bar in Kalispell, and Hill is gearing up for his summer tour with the PBR (Professional Bull Riders, Inc.) 2011 has not been easy on the Hill family. Google Beau Hill, and the first hit is a video of his leg getting rocked by a bull at a January event Beau Hill in Anaheim, California. His knee was twisted and tweaked in all the wrong ways, causing tears in his PCL and MCL. The only Montanan in the PBR Built Ford Tough Series, Hill has been sitting out since the injury, doing ex28 Mountain
tensive rehab. He hopes to be riding for PBR events, come June. Injuries like Hill’s are a standard in bull riding. Bull riding is based on adrenaline, and Hill is a junky. “You think you have it all figured out, then you get bucked off,” he says. “You have to stay focused, positive. You’re not going to ride every bull, and you have to realize there are ups and downs in this sport.” Hill compared his profession to playing a hand at poker. He has witnessed fellow competitors go broke, but he’s been fortunate enough to keep his competitive edge. Since there is a chance to walk away from an event with handfuls of cash, Hill says it’s best to take advantage of it when you can: “We have the chance to win $100,000 in eight seconds. That’s one hell of a feeling.” In that same amount of time, a rider can lose his chance at the big bucks. The split seconds make the thrill of the ride. Hill is not a newcomer to bull riding. He’s been at it for 14 years, has consistently ranked among the top 40 in the world, and has ridden the top bulls.
He remembers seeing a rodeo as a high school freshman, and watching the fierce, veiny animals throw men around until they hit the dust. He knew it was something he had to try. His second competition won him $40, and he was hooked. His had an athletic family: his sister attended college on a full basketball scholarship, and his father played collegiate basketball four years in a row. Hill was offered scholarships to play baseball, but instead accepted a bid to do rodeo at Miles City Community College. He hasn’t looked back.
After earning his Associates degree in building technology, Hill hit the road full time. Now, he travels approximately 250 days a year, competing in the U.S. and internationally. “Riding has taken me everywhere,” he says, “to every state and province, to Mexico, Brazil, England.” But he always comes home. “Summer is great because rodeos are always in Canada and Montana, [and] I can spend time with my family.” It could be his huge fan base, the number of talented riders here, or his supportive family, but when Hill competes in Montana, he’s found his niche. He says he could drive across the state 1000 times, pointing out animals and mountains to his children. “It’s exciting to show the kids the old Western lifestyle—a lot of people don’t have that heritage,” he says. Hill’s legacy runs deep. “My great grandfathers were cowboys, and I wanted to be a cowboy, too.” The Montana circuit has its down sides, he says. “The Montana rodeos aren’t as big, money-wise. A lot of guys here ride well, but don’t travel like I do. I like to go where the money is.” Hill is the top of his class: one of the top 45 competitors in the PBR, he’s also competed in the National Finals Rodeo twice, the PBR World Finals four times, and was the National PBR Champion in Canada in 2009. But since his injury in early 2011, Hill has been knocked out of the top tier. He says, “It’s about coming back stronger than when you left.” Hill is determined to ride in Montana’s events this summer. Look for him at PBR events in Billings, Missoula, Livingston and Big Sky.
Beau Hill in competition
2010 was the fifth year PBR came to Southwest Montana, thanks to Andy and Jacey Watson, Montana’s bull riding power couple. The Watsons were photographers for PBR for 17 years before they started Freestone Productions, their PBR production company based outside of Three Forks. A business platform to help coordinate and put on PBR events in Southwest Montana and Idaho, Freestone is one of three companies the Watsons run, all exclusively involved with the PBR.
The Watsons also manage Bull Stock Media and Watson Rodeo Photos, which capture and manage PBR imagery. While Andy is on the road as the sole action photographer for PBR, Jacey manages their stock of nearly a million photos. Their photography has expanded, and the public now has access to images of their favorite riders. Their biggest event, the Livingston Classic, part of the Touring Pro Division, is slated for Wednesday, July 27.
History of PBR
easily stand alone. Each rider invested $1,000, and the PBR was born.
The Professional Bull Riders, Inc. was created in 1992 when a group of 20 bull riders broke away from the traditional rodeo scene seeking mainstream attention for the sport of professional bull riding. They felt bull riding could
In recent years, the PBR has celebrated milestones in organizational revenue, bull rider earnings, record-breaking performances, and media attention. It’s the fastest growing sport in the country.
“We want to bring the best of bull riding to Southwest Montana. On top of that, we want to make it one of the top five PBR events of the year in the country,” says Jacey. “[It’s already] succeeded as being one of the top five every year it has been going.”
“It’s the most exciting, dangerous sport in the world.”
More than 1,200 bull riders from the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico hold PBR memberships. They compete in more than 300 events per year on the elite tour (the Built Ford Tough Series), the Touring Pro Division, or the PBR International circuits (PBR Australia, PBR Brazil, PBR Canada and PBR Mexico).
The ultimate goal for PBR athletes each year is to qualify for the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, where the coveted title of PBR World Champion is decided. Professional bull riding is a fierce, rough, and grueling sport, with roots deeply imbedded in American culture.
Included in the event munity can participate each year are blue ribbon through sponsorships cowboys, including Hill, and ad sales. In the past, and the the Classic “Our hope is for the toughest was held in bulls in the Big Sky event to be an Bozeman. world. oneannual show, with big The day event riders and big ticket Flint Rasbrought mussen, a sales, year after year” with it Montana $250,000 -Eric Ladd, PBR sponsor and fan native and in sales. one of the most sought after PBR entertainers, will In Montana, “It’s all about be in attendance thanks quality versus quantity. It’s to the Watsons’ influa lot of heart and effort,” ence. A stadium veteran, says Andy. “We basically Flint’s career flourished throw a party for 4,000 with the PBR, where he people. We have to be on dances, sings and pleases our game.” the crowd. An exclusive entertainer for PBR, Flint For the PBR, which hosts lives in Choteau, Monevents in locations across tana with his family. the country, “It’s fun to find the towns that A new development this embrace Western culture,” year is the PBR event says Jacey. in Big Sky on August 3. Top riders and bulls This summer, the Livingswill be there, and for the ton Classic plans for about first time, an arena will 4,000 attendees. Andy be constructed in the figures it will sell out. The Town Center, along with tickets, compared to bigger a street fair and vendors. shows, are half the price. Event to include a preparty, autograph signing, It doesn’t get any better live music and Calcutta than the open-air venue, eion August 2. Details at ther. “Livingston is a perfect explorebigsky.com. place for a PBR show,” says Andy. Last year it cleared up “Our hope is for the Big right before the show, and Sky event to be an annual there was a double rainbow show, with big riders and right over the stadium, big ticket sales, year after he remembers. It’s not a year,” says Eric Ladd, a bad deal for the cowboys PBR sponsor and fan. either—according to the The Watsons like bringWatsons, they should have ing events to smaller a pretty generous payout of venues, in smaller towns. approximately $22,000. That way, the com-
The Watsons are also working on topping off last year’s epic moments: a helicopter dropped the cowboys off in the middle of the arena, and the Dirty Shame played the after party. “Right now we have the top bulls in the world (the stock contractor has three world titles). There will be around 30 out of 40 of the top riders in the world, with two or three world champions among them,” says Andy. The Watsons, the riders and the people behind the scenes have dedicated their lives to bull riding. “It’s mind blowing how tough the athletes are,” Andy says. “It’s the most exciting, dangerous
sport in the world. You will buy a ticket for the whole seat, but really, you’ll only need the edge.” bullstockmedia.com Visit explorebigsky.com to see clips from the PBR.
Touring Pro Division:
June 3 - 4
Eastern Montana Bull Blowout PBR Touring Pro Division Richlands County Fairgrounds Sidney, MT
Livingston Classic Park County Fairgrounds Livingston, MT
Big Sky Town Center Big Sky, MT
Dickies Northwest Western Montana Fair & Rodeo Missoula, MT
Built Ford Tough Series:
August 5 - 7 Stanley Tools and Security Invitational Presented by Cooper TIres Billings, MT
Flint Rasmussen, a Montana native and one of the most sought after PBR entertainers will be performing at the Livingston Classic July 27, and at Big Sky on August 3.
e l l ow s t o n e in the A backcountry journey with a local camp jack S tory an d p hotos by bran dy ladd
Yellowstone, the world’s first national park was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872.
Over three million visitors flock from urban dwellings around the world to the Park each year, gaining a brief glimpse into this Garden of Eden.
Theodore Roosevelt had previously recognized the need to permanently preserve the unique natural setting. “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem,” he said. “Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
As a camp jack with the Livingston-based Rockin H K Outfitters, I spend several weeks of summer in the Yellowstone backcountry. As a young girl, my family and I shared many days riding in the heart of the Gallatin and Absarokee Mountains. I still feel free and at home on the trail.
Pack string riding out Glenn Creek with Electric Peak in the background
Ecosystem, at approximately 18 million-acres, is the largest, nearly intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone. 2,221,766 acres of that are in Yellowstone Park itself. Wildlife Our procession weaved through a thick, yet spindly forest of lodgepole pines. One of the mules in the pack string snorted at a monstrous bull moose grazing knee-deep in the glassy, black water of a nearby swamp. Our group of six riders sat still in our saddles, soaking in the natural splendor. A red-winged blackbird was perched in a nearby willow. Kipp Saile packing in Pebble Creek
Packing up Heidi Saile tested the weight of two manny sacks lying among a colossal amount of gear and food. She swung one of the heavy canvas bundles alongside her favorite mule Ernie, deftly throwing a diamond hitch to attach the load to the pack frame. Her husband Kipp unloaded the riding horses. Their children, Scarlett, Wyatt and Wilson, greeted the arriving guests who were about to embark on a five-day trip into the heart of Yellowstone National Park’s backcountry. Into the Park As my horse Lacey strode through the deep grass of Pelican Valley, she swung her head toward the river. I looked through her alerted ears, and together we watched a grizzly romp and play, unconcerned about our presence. Though massive, he dodged along the slope with impressive speed and agility. An iconic figure in the Greater Yellowstone, the grizzly bear has roamed North America for the past million years, outliving the saber-toothed tiger and the mastodon. The vast country spread before us as our horses climbed from Pelican Valley to Mist Pass. The Greater Yellowstone 34 Mountain
Native ungulates, bears, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians inhabit the area throughout four seasons. More than 3,000 bison roam Yellowstone’s grasslands, the only place in the lower 48 states where a population of wild bison has lived since prehistoric times. On the micro-level, endemic heatdwelling thermophile species have evolved to live in the hot water, many over the course of millions of years. Geologic hotspot Behind us, the calm blue water of Yellowstone Lake reflected billowing clouds over the Two Oceans Plateau. In the distance, the Tetons’ jagged peaks ripped through the skyline. Lacey shifted her stance, and I looked down at the tiny rhyolite stones that clicked under her hooves. The geology in this region is so young that erosion has not had time to pulverize the volcanic pebbles into dirt. More than 600,000 years ago, a supervolcano erupted in the once mountainous region we now know as Yellowstone Park. Thick lava flows filled the caldera and created the rolling plateaus of today’s landscape. The formation of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was created by this eruption, as was the basin that holds Yellowstone Lake.
Today, the 30x45-mile Yellowstone Caldera is one of only a few dozen hotspots in the world—these are places where hot molten mantle rock is rising toward earth’s surface. A constant reminder of geologic power, this slow-moving magma plume has created about 10,000 thermal features and more than 300 geysers, including the world-famous Old Faithful. It also causes 1,000-3,000 earthquakes each year, though most are relatively minor, measuring a magnitude of 3 or less. Occasionally, numerous earthquakes occur over a short period, an event known as an earthquake swarm. According to the USGS, these swarms are likely caused more by slips on pre-existing faults than by movements of magma or hydrothermal fluids. The most recent swarm was early in 2010, after the Haiti earthquake and before the earthquake in Chile. This was the second largest ever recorded in the Yellowstone Caldera, and the largest of its shocks was a magnitude 3.8. Camp As the riders and pack string descended into another valley, we spotted our campsite. A group of trees stood alone in a vast valley. There were no man-made structures except for the bear poles hung high in the trees for food storage. The Park’s 1,000 miles of backcountry trails offer 301 campsites for the three percent of visitors who choose to explore the wilderness. Kipp, packers Jodi Laird and Pete Delzer, and I assisted the guests with their horses, unpacked the mules and set up camp. The stock grazed, and the guests stretched their legs and fished in the nearby Lamar River. Soon, a campfire was crackling and appetizers were served. Guests relaxed in camp chairs, sharing fish stories while sipping cocktails. Thick, perfectly marinated sirloins sizzled on the grill. Taken by the experience, one of the vegetarian guests announced she’d
celebrate by enjoying a steak for the first time in 15 years. The relaxed nature of the evening allowed five strangers from different places and walks of life to bond easily. After dinner and dessert, one of the guests played a guitar and sang under the vivid stars. The next day began with a crisp frost, highlighted by rays of morning sun. Steam rose off the mules and horses in the meadow. We crawled from our cozy sleeping bags and tents in search of hot coffee, bacon, fresh biscuits and fruit. On the trail The next few days, we saw spectacular waterfalls and awe-inspiring sharp peaks. We rode through rolling valleys, the smell of wild onions permeating the air. A herd of bison wallowed by a riverbank in the midday sun. Wildflowers of dazzling colors swayed in an afternoon breeze. A hawk swooped low into a field on an evening hunt. The experience became locked in our memories. rockinhk.com/outfitters Pebble Creek Camp and Bliss Pass
Owning and operating Rockin’ H K Outfitters the past 10 years, the Sailes have worked together as they’ve grown. Scarlett was six months old at her first trailhead, and Heidi was still pregnant with Wyatt. Now Scarlett and Wyatt ‘work’ trips, showing young guests how to put up a rope swing over the food hanging rail, or how to catch a tadpole in the creek. Kipp has been a guide and packer for the past 14 years, practicing lowimpact techniques handed down for generations. His knack for packing mules, love for Yellowstone, gourmet cooking skills make him a wonderful guide. Heidi has worked for many local ranches and accumulated many hours on the trail, making her a master caretaker of both horse and rider in the backcountry.
B lue Gol d M o n ta n a’ s Y o g o S a pp h i r e story and photos by E mily stifler As Mike Roberts drives his low profile loading truck into the dark mineshaft, the spring green hills of Yogo Gulch disappear with the circle of daylight at the tunnel’s entrance. Roberts’ headlamp ricochets of the walls, and the truck’s engine noise fills the narrow tunnel. The air temperature cools. At the 250’ level, he stops and turns off the engine. Drip… Drip. Water trickles in the dank tunnel, echoing. The lamp casts a dim glow across the 10’-tall, 15’wide tunnel.
“My daughters love the crystal cave,” Roberts says and climbs out of the truck. He walks up a muddy side tunnel, ascends a 15’ ladder, and lights a cave of clearish-brown quartz crystals. “Isn’t it pretty?” he asks. But Roberts, who spends many waking hours here, isn’t looking for quartz. He mines Yogo sapphires, the nearly flawless gemstones found only in the Little Belt Mountains outside the tiny south-central Montana town of Utica, an hour’s drive west of Lewistown. In 2005, he traded a gold mine he owned outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, for this Montana mineral deposit. He’d been in Alaska 20 years, but now, he’s worked this secondary-vein of the main Yogo dike ever since. Roberts climbs down the ladder and continues up the tunnel, balancing his strong, compact frame across a wet plank spanning a ditch. Stopping, he shines his headlamp at a 12” wide strip
of cream-colored rock in the ceiling, sandwiched between Madison limestone. The Yogos, he explains, are scattered “indiscriminately throughout” this lighter colored dike of rock, which is called lamproite.
300 million years ago, an ancient sea covered much of what is now Montana. The seabed, put under geologic pressure, formed the Madison limestone layer. Then, 50 million years ago, an uplift created the Little Belt Mountains. Magma from the earth’s mantel rose into a fracture in the limestone and formed a five-mile long, ten-foot wide dike of lamproite—the Yogo’s host rock. Geologic surveys show this dike is 7,000’ deep, making it the world’s largest known sapphire deposit. Mining efforts here have never extended deeper than 400’. To access the Yogos, Roberts blasts the dike rock and sometimes uses a high-pressure washer to flush it from the vein. Eight feet up in this cleft,
he’s set up rafters, so he can work “from the bottom up.” A couple years ago, he fell from a spot like this and hurt himself so badly he couldn’t work for several months. Even so, Roberts enjoys his work. He picks up a piece of the fallen dike rock, which looks like clay. He smiles. “I love it down here. It’s like a mansion,” he says. His grin is lit by his headlamp. “But my wife wouldn’t live in a hole in the ground.” He laughs. Instead, they live with their three children in Great Falls. After collecting the dike rock, Roberts lets it soften by weathering, either on the floor of the tunnel, or outside, exposed to the sun. This technique is essentially the same used by all who have mined here over the last century.
A lovely cornflower blue color and natural clarity have given Yogo sapphires prestige. Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, the Duchess of York and Lady Diana have all owned them. They are in collections at the Smithsonian Institution in
other Sapphire Locations While Yogos are the finest, they are not the only sapphires mined in Montana. Other locations produce larger gems in various shades of pink, yellow, gold, white and blue-green.
Washington, D.C., at the Museum of Natural History in New York, and part of the Royal Crown jewels in London. In Montana, Yogos have special allure, and many local jewelers sell fine, expensive stones. Unlike most other sapphires, which must undergo heat treatment to be rid of impurities, Yogos are naturally almost flawless. Although well-cut Yogos larger than one carat are rare, exceptional gems can sell for up to $100,000. Lower quality rough-cut stones are available for under $100. Although the Yogo dike has produced more than
Yogo Gulch, in Central Montana’s Little Belt Mountains, is the only place in the world Yogo Sapphires are found.
$25 million of the world’s most beautiful sapphires, its history has been riddled with mistakes, bad luck and bankruptcy. Unlike sapphires from the alluvial beds of Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other parts of Montana, Yogos are embedded in hard rock, which makes mining them difficult and expensive. Human history with the Yogo dike began in 1879, when more than 1000 prospectors flocked to Yogo City, one of the last major gold booms in Montana. The miners found little gold, but they did notice small, translucent blue pebbles that sank to the bottom of their sluice
boxes. Interested only in gold, the men threw these away. Two years later, the boom was over, and Yogo City emptied out. Then in 1894, locals Jake Hoover and S.S. Hobson began looking for gold again. Legend has it that the next year, Hoover lent a schoolteacher friend gold dirt to show her class. When she returned the dirt, she thanked him for the sapphires. That fall, Hoover sent a cigar box full of blue stones to jeweler Tiffany & Co. in New York for appraisal. There, America’s most prominent gem expert, Dr. George F. Kuntz, identified them as “the finest precious
Courtesy of the Lewistown museum
Sapphire mining has been going on in Yogo Gulch since the late 1800s.
gemstones ever found in the United States.” In return, Tiffany sent Hoover a check for $3,750 and a letter explaining the sapphires were of “unusual quality.” A mountain man with a knack for gold discovery and a taste for booze, women and trouble, Hoover “could empty a Winchester faster than any other man I ever knew...” said Hoover’s longtime friend, the legendary cowboy artist Charlie Rus-
sell. In 1896, Hoover, Hobson and two others bought claims on the eastern end of the dike and started digging. They realized though, with no American gem cutting facilities rough stones were hard to market. Hoover sold his share, paid his debts and joined the Alaska gold rush. From 1898-1952, a London-based jewelry giant owned the land and renamed it the English Mine. Sapphires were en
vogue in early 20th century Europe, and Yogos resembled the stylish, blue Sri Lankan stones. Many London jewelers passed Yogos off as stones from Sri Lanka. Ironically, Yogos were not easily available in Montana (they had to be shipped overseas to be cut), so jewelers at home bought Sri Lankan sapphires and sold them as Yogos. In 1923, an intense storm flooded and destroyed the English Mine’s infrastructure and washed away weathering piles. All new mining ceased, and the operation closed two years later. The last production was recorded in 1927. In the latter half of the 20th century, the mine changed hands numerous times. Many attempted mining this perfect stone, but high operating costs, no domestic cutting facilities, and poor marketing caused them all to fail. Big business came to Yogo in 1981, followed by con-
troversy. Intergem, backed by Citibank, brought attention to heat-treating. A common process in the gem industry, it heats sapphires to 1800 degrees C, altering their chemical structure and creating clear blue stones from previously worthless discolored ones. Intergem accused other jewelers of nondisclosure and touted Yogo’s natural worth. Five years after opening, Intergem couldn’t afford payments, and ownership returned to Roncor, Inc. Then in 1984, four locals on a day hike made a new discovery at Yogo – the side vein that Mike Roberts mines today. They staked claims at the ‘Vortex Mine’, sunk a 280’ shaft, and operated successfully for several years before leasing to the Idaho-based Small Mining Development, who drove the shaft to 400’. Unsatisfied with production and profit, SMD closed the Vortex Mine in 2004.
Sapphires and Rubies are both gemstone-quality stones of the mineral corundum.
101.96 gm 47.07%
Al2O3 Empirical formula
The origin of ‘Yogo’ is unclear, but some believe it is the Piegan Blackfeet tribe’s word for romance.
The word corundum is derived from the Sanskrit, kuruvinda, meaning ‘ruby’.
Yogos range in color from violet to “cornflower” blue. This coloring comes from traces of iron and titanium, and makes Yogos the most precious gemstones mined in the U.S.
Mike Roberts visits with Clarence Turner (of Sapphire Village) at Roberts’ operation in Yogo Gulch.
Today, Mike Roberts runs the only commercial Yogo operation. Nearby, the Sapphire Village subdivision allows property owners lifetime digging rights on the old English Mine. For them, rock hounding is a hobby, and residents spend summers collecting buckets of old mine dirt, leaked from flumes that sat atop the hill above Yogo Gulch 90 years ago. Above ground, Roberts uses a bucket loader to scoop weathered ore into a large processor. The ore feeds into a trommel, an eight-foot diameter tube made of steel screens that spins, separating different size materials. Rocks crash against metal. A conveyor belt dumps larger rocks into a pile. Diverted creek water flushes the smaller pieces down a flume and into a sluice box, where sapphires sink to the bottom of the riffles. Roberts shuts off the processor, walks to the sluice box, and shovels excess stone and dirt out with the muddy water. When it’s poured off, he sifts his fingers through the gravel that remains. “This is the jig bit,” he says, picking up small black steel shot that’s sunk below the limestone. “Anything lighter stays on top of this and keeps
Roberts holds a piece of lamproite, Yogo’s host rock.
further reading: Yogo, the Great American Sapphire, by Stephen Voynick Go to explorebigsky.com to see an interview with Mike Roberts, and take a trip into the Yogo mine. floating down as the water pulses up, anything heavier will go down and settle in it. Sapphires are just a little heavier than the steel shot.” With tweezers, he picks out tiny blue sapphires. Barely visible among the limestone and hematite, the gems glisten when he holds them up to the sun. He smiles, and his mischievous blue eyes almost resemble the precious stones. Roberts has offers from major national jewelers like Tiffany. But the market in Montana is good, he says, and he’s unsure if the costs outweigh the profits to expand to larger sellers. So, after two decades of mining gold in Alaska, why Yogos? Roberts says there is something special about sapphires. “Their color is eye pleasing. Mining for them is fun, and it’s a challenge.”
Looking for a yogo sapphire? The following retailers offer beautiful pieces: Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman The Gem Gallery, Bozeman Rogers Jewelry, Lewistown montanagem.com sapphire-untreated.com - offers loose stones and jewelry at very discounted rates Want to dig your own sapphires? Several Montana sapphire deposits are open to the public, and are family-friendly. Check these out: Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine This quaint turn of the century mine sits on the banks of Hauser Lake, on the Missouri River east of Helena. Gem Mountain – The oldest, largest sapphire mine in the state is between Hamilton and Philipsburg, in the Sapphire Mountains.
Having the Lot at the Edge of
the Wild By Megan Paulson
River Run Site
River Run Estate on Pioneer Mountain
Photo by Ryan Turner
“Right! Everyone pull together! All at once……now!” Jenna cheers, as her four young children struggle with a gigantic Gordian knot in their backyard. The Sanfords are trying to construct an element called a ‘wild woozy’, part of a ropes course that they’ll install on their Montana property as soon as spring arrives for good. There’s also a lesson on Pythagorian triangles and ancient monuments thrown in for good measure. Because Jenna homeschools, she rarely misses an opportunity to augment the children’s classical studies with practical applications. Prioritizing self-discovery and respect for others is central to this family in sustaining the delicate balance between work and leisure, and they actively seek ways to integrate lessons into a dynamic and unique environment. Yet, the Sanfords have a drive for simplicity – a pure, natural and minimalist approach to life that has entailed shedding property and possessions to facilitate meaningful experiences. They seem one of the least likely candidates to own a mountain estate. “We have a sizeable family, and we live in a vibrant culture that puts an emphasis on being busy 24/7,” Jenna says. “It’s a real struggle to resist filling our life with sports practice, house projects, work emergencies, and all the other detritus that prevents us from connecting meaningfully with family, community and the larger environment.” When they realized they were spending 8-10 hours to get to Tahoe whenever there was a big dump, or cruising on iced-over groomers with “half of Northern California,” they “had to can weekends altogether and rely on fantasizing about vacations and the occasional heli-trip.” Jenna grew up skiing in Switzerland – Verbier, Zermatt and St. Moritz – and has a passion for snow. But working as a top publishing executive in England at an early age, and then founding several environmental start-ups, she lived a fast-paced
life. Mark, a creator of technology companies, is likewise fueled by a strong drive and passion for extreme sports, including kite surfing, mountain biking and heli-boarding. Mark and Jenna met at graduate school and would ditch classes to escape to a 400’ icecovered trash hill to snowboard together, dodging drunken locals under the nightlights. Soon they’d explored almost every resort that allowed snowboards – Utah and Colorado for the most part, and then moved further afield to British Columbia and Alaska. “When we finally found Big Sky, it combined all the small town authenticity of
Top 5 River Run Experiences Being the first and last person on the mountain each day… Catching a native cutthroat that has never felt a fly in its mouth before…. Tacking horses up at home and exploring the Lee Metcalf Wilderness…. Sitting peacefully at the meadow and doing morning yoga with only the birds for company… Remaining implausibly private yet dipping into the social life and amenities of Yellowstone Club...
places we loved, such as Telluride and Breckenridge, with extreme mountain terrain,” Jenna says. “Big Sky became the most direct route to the experience we wanted to have on the snow.” Beyond the lure of radical lines and unbeatable powder, it was the addition of horseback riding, fly-fishing and the unadorned beauty of the area that convinced the Sanford family to spend part of the year in Montana, and also made them hesitant to commit to a resort. “Ski mountains are usually so overcrowded with condos that the incredible scenery is obscured, and in the summer gravelly brown surfaces scrubbed of trees and devoid of grass predominate. We wanted a place with plenty of land where we could mess around on mountain bikes and horses, hike out to some undisturbed spot, and basically build what we liked – ziplines and treehouses included. Perhaps a lake, but definitely space and the feeling that we were part of the wildness of the place.” Jenna notes. “I like
feeling outnumbered by wildlife, not people” Mark adds. After a deal fell through at Ulrey’s Lakes they looked at Yellowstone Club, although initially, “We felt as if we didn’t fit the profile.” It took them three seasons to find the right property, but when management opened up the outer edge of the Club, the Sanfords found River Run – perhaps the most unique hybrid ski-mountain, fishing and equestrian property in the world. Jenna describes it as “an anomaly, a strange and wonderful fortuitous bit of luck.” Tim Blixseth, the original Founder of YC, touted the adjacent property in his high profile PR campaigns as ‘the billionaire’s spot’. The Sanfords note, “Properties like this are truly unique, and almost impossible to duplicate, at the Club or anywhere else in the world.” A 7.11-acre slice of wilderness nestled at Lake Lift on Yellowstone Club’s Pioneer Mountain, River Run is far from an ordinary ski property.
L to R: River Run’s solo spot on Pioneer Mountain, the home and Lone Peak, a Fork of the Gallatin flows on the property
We were sold when we saw the USGS topo. A river property at the brink of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, yet next to a high speed quad chairlift? Impossible.
Moose Lake Meadow at River Run. Inset: Montana adventures on-site.
“We were sold as soon as we saw the USGS topographical map,” Mark says. “A river property at the brink of the beautiful quarter million acre Lee Metcalf Wilderness, yet steps from a high speed quad chairlift? Impossible. We thought Tim was crazy to offer such a large site at that location.” A fork of the Gallatin River flows directly on the property and is home to rare, native Westslope Cutthroat Trout. According to local fly fishing outfitter, Bill Lerch, “This section has some of the best fishing holes of the entire upper stream.” For the Sanford children, taking lessons in the elusive art of trout fishing has been a magical experience. Mark was careful to protect River Run’s seclusion and privacy by obtaining a legal contract preventing development within a 30-acre boundary of the property line to ensure a family compound with permanent mountain access. This boundary protects the original Moose Lake – now a lush, wildlife meadow over two football
fields in size and frequently visited by moose, elk and deer. In winter, it makes a great cross-country ski area, and in summer it’s a peaceful spot to exercise horses. In fact, due to its size and location, River Run is one of the few properties at Yellowstone Club approved for equestrian facilities. “It is quite possibly the only ski-in estate in the world where horses can be boarded onsite,” Mark adds. The most popular hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails meet River Run’s boundaries, connecting to both Yellowstone Club’s trail system and the vast Lee Metcalf Wilderness. In terms of access, the property’s most impressive feature remains its location on Pioneer Mountain, meaning the Sanfords can walk outside and be first on the mountain every day. “There is something so outrageous about ski patrol letting you slip under the lines to ski to your home, and realizing that you’re the last one down the explorebigsky.com
mountain. It’s like having the ultimate back stage pass.” The Sanford’s first priority was to build a 3,000 square foot native stone and reclaimed wood log home. “They wanted to use local materials and make it look as if the house had been there since the first settlers,” local builder Tim Harpster notes. Although River Run has development approval for up to 20,000 square feet of habitable space, the family loves the intimacy of their modest but elegant home, and has plans to build a barn and a fire tower overlooking the water to house guests and extended family. “They had us with the ski lift, the river and the wilderness.” Jenna remembers. Add the nearby 11,166’ Lone Peak and the incomparable amenities of Yellowstone Club, and River Run encompasses all. With the subsequent purchase by Cross Harbor Capital Partners and new management by Discovery Land Company, the Club’s services have been enhanced considerably, Mountain
without affecting the site’s seclusion. Jenna says the property is so private, most people at the Club don’t even know it exists. “Having such a pure, natural, wilderness experience, yet being seven minutes from the lodge where you have 24-hour access to every creature comfort is insane, but unbelievably cool,” Jenna says. “There are no compromises here.” This splendid contradiction, River Run – and Yellowstone Club – became home for the Sanfords.
Since purchasing River Run, Mark and Jenna have looked into other resorts, in New Zealand and Argentina for example, just for fun. “We can’t find anything like it,” Jenna says. “Hearing the avi-bombs go off above us as we jump off the porch to catch the first lift, watching Lone Peak become shrouded with storm clouds from the spa, seeing our kids grin up at us with their first trout of the day and saying ‘hi!’ to the horses as we carry our yoga mats
to the edge of the meadow, coming back from an indulgent dinner with friends and listening to the rush of the stream below as we fall asleep, while knowing there are literally miles and miles of seclusion around us – that’s what we cherish.” To view the River Run video online, or for more information on River Run, visit riverrunatyc.com.
There are no compromises here.
44 explorebigsky.com ViewMountain from the home, overlooking the water and Lone Peak
Not an Ordinary Angler MATOR program helps Montanans with disabilities fish, hunt and get outside By Chris Clasby | Photos by brenden dalin The oar blades pulling against the Gallatin River’s gentle current were the only audible sound as our raft approached a deep, promising hole. My hammered brass spinner blade flashed, reflecting sunlight and indicating a perfectly landed cast between shore and the foamy surface bubbles formed between back eddy and the main river channel. I counted two seconds, allowing the spinner to sink near the river bottom, then engaged the reel. Besides the warm sunshine, deep promising pools, and pursuit of a monofilament struggle, this was not a typical fishing expedition. Nor was I a typical angler, but rather a high level quadriplegic sitting in a power wheelchair on a custom-built accessible raft
Peter Pauwels rows an accessible raft on a MATOR demonstration float down the Gallatin River. Ryan and Sarah sit in the bow and MATOR assistant Whitney in the stern.
frame. I used a “sip-n-puff,” switch-activated cast and reel fishing rod designed for people without hand function. The adapted fishing rod drew back when I sucked (sipped) into a control straw, initiating a mechanical cast, and electronically reeled in line when I blew (puffed). Since 2008, the Montana Access to Outdoor Recreation (MATOR) program of the University of Montana Rural Institute has provided services to enable Montanans with disabilities to fish, view wildlife and hunt. Shortly after its inception, MATOR partnered with the Denver-based nonprofit, accessiblefishing. org, which designs and builds adaptive fishing equipment for MATOR’s equipment loan program.
When Accessible Fishing’s Director, Peter Pauwels, visited Montana in July 2009, he brought adaptive rafts and equipment. In conjunction with MATOR, Pauwels offered free adaptive floating opportunities to 18 participants with disabilities, each accompanied by a friend. In five days, 10 groups floated the Clark Fork River, and many caught fish. By the end of the week, Pauwels agreed to build MATOR its own accessible raft. The following summer, my trip on the lower Gallatin was the last float of a three-week joint venture between these two nonprofits, many volunteers, and more than 40 participants. During the first two weeks, Bill Stroud, an avid floater and River Rat Maps cartographer, guided us on sections of the Bitterroot River, south of Missoula. Then, floating the Gallatin between Manhattan and the Missouri Headwaters culminated the adventure. Because it was in a different part of the state, different participants were able to join us. Peter strategically controlled the raft, and I worked the adaptive rod to retrieve the spinner from the pool depths. Then a large flash and simultaneous zip of line stripped my reel. I puffed to engage it, and Peter’s leeward oar stroke maximized the raft angle against the fish. The battle brought Peter to his feet for a better view, oars still at hand. Together, we landed the 16” brown trout and shared a moment of elation over our mutual triumph. The brown returned to the river, we approached the next hole with anticipation, mentally enjoying the victory. It was not individual victory, nor a victory over fish, but a victory over odds shared by all the participants with disabilities who’d floated Montana rivers the past three weeks. It was a victory for two programs geographically 900 miles apart, but with the same vision. A victory made possible by volunteers who’d rowed and shuttled, and by other programs that contributed information, licensing exemptions, and knowledge of rivers and camps. Chris Clasby is the Program Coordinator of Montana Access to Outdoor Recreation. For more information about adaptive wildlife viewing, fishing and hunting in Montana, visit MATOR online: recreation.ruralinstiute.umt.edu. More information about adaptive fishing and Peter Pauwels is available at accessiblefishing.org.
MATOR Coordinator Chris Clasby casts using sip-n-puff adaptive equipment. Mary Watne assists due to low casting batteries on a MATOR demonstration float on the Gallatin River.
The Montana Access to Outdoor Recreation, or MATOR program, provides services for Montanans with disabilities: • Education about adaptive wildlife-associated recreation • A loan program with a wide variety of adaptive equipment • Demonstration events throughout Western Montana • A network of volunteers to help program participants MATOR and Accessible Fishing will conduct demonstration events again in July, 2011. They are planned in the Missoula area and on the Gallatin River. Contact MATOR to learn about other adaptive fishing opportunities in Southwest Montana.
This Colorado-based organization works closely with Children’s Hospital and Craig Hospital therapeutic recreation programs in Denver, helping current and former patients fish in Colorado, on Wyoming’s North Platte River, and at Lake Mary at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Director Peter Pauwels has partnered with volunteers, the U.S. Army, Shell Oil Company, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create an accessible fishery at Lake Mary. explorebigsky.com
9 A M A Z I N G P RO P E RT I E S Custom Residence 486 - SOLD 7 Remaining Properties Lot 483 and 488 Currently Available Protected by 65 acres of dedicated open space 1.7 - 4.8 acre parcels
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To view videos and learn more about Lone View Ridge properties, visit LoneViewRidge.com or YellowstoneClub.com. explorebigsky.com Mountain For direct questions or sales inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Renewable Energy in Southwest Montana
photo courtesy of independent power systems
By Tyler Allen Montana is characterized by abundant natural resources: wide open spaces, valuable minerals, plentiful wildlife, vast forestlands, and energy. This last resource is dominated by coal and hydroelectric power, but there is enormous potential for renewable energy. As evidence mounts that burning fossil fuels has a negative impact on the earth, and that the resulting climate change affects our quality of life and our future, more Montanans are looking toward alternatives to power their lives.
While the state’s energy future seems secure (Montana is a net exporter of energy), that power is largely produced from coal beds in the Powder River Basin and from large hydroelectric dams—these sources are not eternal, and they visibly degrade Montana’s natural beauty. However, Montana is also rich in other energy resources that do little harm to our valuable landscape: •
Montana is ranked in the top five of U.S. states in wind energy potential.
Southwest and Eastern Montana have vast solar resources.
Biomass is emerging as an economically viable solution to utilize the byproducts of forest management.
Geothermal heat pumps have begun heating homes around Montana.
Currently, “net-metered” systems dominate Montana’s renewable energy—more than 1,000 small-scale residential wind turbines or rooftop solar panels. When power generated by these systems is greater than the demand of the household, the energy is sent back to the grid.
“Net-metering is easing the load on the grid,” says Conor Darby, President of Montana Renewable Energy Association. “It is going to the root of the problem, decreasing demand, which means less electricity bought from the coal plants.” Because Montana companies install these net-metered systems, they boost local economies. In contrast, large wind farms or solar installations are often built by out-ofstate companies, employ out-of-staters and sell power to other states with greater demand. These projects must to be tied to the larger power grid, and high voltage power lines can cost thousands of dollars per mile, in addition to having a visual impact. The federal government is offering a 30 percent tax credit on residential power systems using renewable energy, and the state of Montana is providing tax credits on investments of $5,000 or more. There has never been a better time to invest in an energy future that does not depend on our finite supply of fossil fuels.
Renewable Energy creates 3x as many jobs per $1 invested than Conventional Energy
(Political Economy Research Institute)
The Townsend schools are using a “whole tree” wood pellet boiler system, modifying an existing boiler to be dual-fuel, with oil as a backup. Pellets are bought from the Eureka Pellet Mills, which uses materials from logging residues that would otherwise be piled and burned as slash. The system is predicted to pay for itself in 7-8 years and save the school $1.2 million over the course of 30 years. During the 2008-2009 school year, the Townsend schools reduced their carbon emission by nearly 172 metric tons heating with biomass instead of fossil fuels.
Energy production in Montana 60% Coal and Natural Gas
“When I look at student education, the cost and source of energy will be one of the biggest issues vital to their future,” says Brian Patrick, Superintendent of Townsend Schools. What started as a cost saving measure has become a valuable educational tool, he says, and the taxpayers see the school using their money wisely. “More money saved on energy means more money for the classroom,” he adds.
10% Wind Less than .05% Netmetered Solar and Wind (Over 1,000 small-scale renewable systems in Montana, mostly rooftop solar panels and small wind turbines)
Biomass Despite Montana’s abundant timber resources, biomass power generation is currently only being used as a substitute for fossil fuels in heating public buildings—this is largely because the cost of electricity is so low. The University of Montana is in the permitting stage for a biomass electricity generator. The Healthy Forest Initiative, which has created a number of fuel reduction projects statewide, is challenged to find “a market for all the un-merchantable materials,” says Crystal Hagerman, Natural Resource Agent with the MSU Extension. Hagerman explains finding ways to save landowners money will encourage forest management, but companies are hesitant to stick their necks out by building industrial pellet plants. Why? The source—waste from marketable trees—could run out in 20 years. In the Big Sky area, logging waste is often chipped and broadcast on site or hauled away. 52 Mountain
The Fuels for Schools and Beyond (FFS&B) program was created after the devastating wildfires of 2000, when 350,000 acres burned in the Bitterroot Valley. A resident in Darby, Montana began researching how fuel reduction and economic development could be tied together, and learned a number of schools in the northeastern U.S. were using biomass boilers to heat buildings. By fall of 2003, biomass boilers were installed in three Darby schools, and since then, a number of schools throughout Montana have used the FFS&B grant funding for their own biomass projects. Biomass projects aren’t feasible for smaller facilities. A building must spend an estimated $20,000 a year on heating fuel for a conversion to be cost-effective, and proximity to a wood fuel source is key. As with any heating system, it’s cheaper to install a biomass burner in new
construction than retrofitting it to an existing system. Moonlight Basin has received a grant from the Montana Department of Natural Resources to study feasibility of biomass for their proposed expansion. “[This] will help us determine if biomass is economically viable, environmentally friendly, and sustainable as a fuel source,” says Kevin Germain, Director of Planning and Development for the resort. Moonlight is investigating biomass both as a cost-saving measure, and as a way to reduce its carbon footprint. Creating a market for the low-value logging slash from their wildfire and disease/insect mitigation efforts is another benefit, Germain says. Contact Crystal Hagerman at the Montana State University Extension: crystal.hagerman@ montana.edu or visit the Fuels For Schools and Beyond website to learn more: fuelsforschools.info
Wind The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) expects wind power will contribute 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030. Although Montana is ranked in the top five states in wind energy potential, it’s 18th in actual generation. Currently, only 10 percent of our power is derived from wind. Unlike conventional sources of energy, wind power creates zero emissions, consumes no water during operation, and costs nothing once turbines are installed. Energy from fossil fuels is required for the manufacture and transportation of wind turbines, but it is estimated that within a few months of operation, a wind farm produces an equivalent amount of clean energy.
The initial investment is not cheap though: development of commercial wind farms costs around $2 million/megawatt (mW) of generating capacity, and a typical residential wind turbine costs approximately $32,000. Since new high voltage lines are so expensive to build, another issue with wind farms is how far the sites are from existing transmission lines. The Judith Gap wind farm, near Harlowton, Montana became operational in January 2006. The 90 towers rise 262’ above the grassland and produce 450,000,000 kilowatts (kW) annually. Each turbine has three blades 126’ long, and power production begins with wind speeds of 7.8 mph. When the wind blows over 56 mph, the turbines automatically shut down to pro-
tect them from damage. A 20-year Power Purchasing Agreement with Northwestern Energy ensures this clean energy will contribute to the grid for decades to come. As with most renewable energy systems, an investment in wind eventually pays for itself and saves the consumer money—especially in the current incentive climate. Montana offers a wind energy system tax credit of 35 percent for individuals or corporations that invest at least $5,000 in equipment, transmission lines or equipment used in the manufacture of wind turbines. The DOE estimates this industry has potential to create 2,800 jobs in Montana. Independent Power Systems, Inc., solarips.com or for a more traditional looking windmill contact Wind Works: windworks-resource.com
Montana is ranked in the top 5 of U.S. states in wind energy potential
Solar power in Montana is dominated by “net-metered” systems, where solar panels on the rooftops of homes or businesses are tied to the grid. When the energy produced by the solar array exceeds the usage by the building, the meter actually spins backwards. The grid acts as battery storage for the customer, which means they don’t have the added expense of buying and maintaining a battery system. It is estimated that $1,000 in energy savings from a residential solar system will increase the property value by $20,000. The justification is that every $1,000 not spent on energy can be used for a larger mortgage payment with no change in the cost of living.
Every $1,000 in reduced annual energy costs due to solar electric production increases home value by $20,000
(The Appraisal Journal)
page 54: photos courtesy of independent power systems
Solar power is the world’s fastest growing energy source. Solar cells generate electricity from the sun as a result of the photovoltaic effect; photons of light knock the electrons in the cells into a higher state of energy, creating voltage between two electrodes. Even considering the emissions produced in manufacturing photovoltaic cells, solar power produces less than 15 percent of the carbon dioxide as equivalent energy from a coal-fired plant. Solar panels have a life expectancy of 50 years, and are designed to withstand strong winds, corrosion and heavy Rocky Mountain snow loads. Southwest Montana has a great solar resource, with Gallatin Valley averaging 4.7 peak sun hours daily. Even so, it’s unlikely large solar panels will dot the landscape anytime soon. 54 Mountain
At present, solar energy exists only in net-metering systems, because procurement costs are higher than for wind. While Montana law says the state must supply 20 percent of its energy in renewable sources by 2015, energy companies are not required by law to purchase solar power like in other states. REC Silicon provides 300 jobs in Butte producing silicon products for the solar and electronics industry, and a number of installers are working across the state. Through the Sun4Schools program, solar panels have also been used as a teaching tool in Montana. Between 2000 and 2003, photovoltaic systems were installed at 27 schools in North Western Energy’s service area. This program demonstrated that solar power provides clean energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has a positive environmental impact. Independent Power Systems, Inc., solarips.com
Geothermal Another heating alternative to fossil fuels gaining a foothold in Montana is geothermal, or ground-source, heat pumps. The upper 10’ of the Earth’s surface maintains a relatively stable temperature of 45-70 degrees F, and a geothermal heat pump takes advantage of that stored heat to warm a building in the winter. In addition, the pumps cool a house in the summer by pumping its heat into the ground. Heat is captured by circulating fluid through high-density polyurethane pipes in the ground or a nearby body of water. The fluid returns to the home and is compressed by the heat pump to be circulated through the
building using forced air or radiant floor heating. Four types of systems can be installed, depending on a site’s topography. The most common is a Horizontal Loop, where pipes are buried in trenches 6-8’ deep and 100-300’ long. When terrain or existing landscaping is limiting, a Vertical Loop is often installed, with holes drilled 100400’ below the surface. If there is a large body of water nearby, pipes can be sunk and anchored to the bottom—a Pond Loop. An Open Loop system can be used if there is an adequate supply of high quality well water, and an appropriate discharge area nearby such as a river or pond.
The initial investment can be expensive, but a geothermal system will pay for itself quickly because it is 3-4 times more efficient than conventional heat systems. The cost of fossil fuels is likely to rise, but the heat captured from the earth will always be free. And groundsource heating systems are more reliable than conventional systems, which typically last 13-15 years. The heat pumps are expected to last 20-25 years and the pipes have a life expectancy of 50 years. The 30 percent tax incentive from the federal government applies to geothermal, as well, so the payback period is even shorter. thbes.com
Joe Rightmyer had a geothermal heat system installed in 2010 at his new home north of Bozeman. “I had read an article about how economical they are, and there is no natural gas out here,” he says. He has a Horizontal Loop system that was buried in trenches 130’ long and 8’ deep, costing $49,000. He estimates propane would have cost $7,100 a year to heat his 8,000 sq. foot home, whereas he only pays $1,400 a year to heat with his geothermal system. The payback will take roughly six years. explorebigsky.com
Chalet 4 at Yellowstone Club Incredible, Direct Ski-in/Ski-out Access 6,000+ Livable Square Feet 5 Bedrooms Turnkey Property with Base Area Location Steps from Warren Miller Lodge View Video Online - chalet4.com Contact Will Littman, YC Sales, for tours or information email@example.com | 406-993-7012 | chalet4.com
How mountain pine beetles, blister rust, and whitebark pine mortality affect bears, humans and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
By Emily Stifler
Cross Homestake Pass on I-90, or hike into Beehive Basin north of Big Sky, and you’ll see a predominance of dead trees, their needles a vivid coppery color. Mountain pine beetles, the cause of much of this mortality, are native to the Rocky Mountains, and are part of lodgepole pine forests’ natural life cycle. Historically, the beetles have also affected ponderosa, sugar, and western white pines, and two 20th century beetle epidemics killed whitebark pines. All of these species recovered. Since 2000 however, scientists from Colorado to British Columbia have recorded a significant rise in beetlekilled whitebark pine, in subalpine ecosystems. While the percentage of forest death varies between ranges, this epidemic, combined with the invasive white pine blister rust, has caused unprecedented mortality. “While, historically, climatic conditions in high elevation whitebark pine habitats have prevented sustained mountain pine beetle outbreaks, today anthropogenic global warming appears to be allowing outbreak populations to expand into these previously inhospitable areas,” according to a 2001 paper on by whitebark experts Jesse Logan and James Powell. In 2009, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Forest Service coordinated an aerial survey of whitebark pine mortality throughout the 20-million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The study found 46 per-
cent of whitebark pine forests had high mortality, and another 36 percent with medium mortality. According to the study, “this widespread high-intensity mortality may likely impact the ability of this species to provide critical ecosystem services, and may threaten the very future of this ecosystem.” Connie Millar, who has studied high elevation pines for 25 years, says groundtruthing—walking the land to learn the extent and cause of mortality—tells scientists if there are live trees remaining, if young trees are regenerating and whether there is blister rust.
“The combined effects [of beetles, rust and drought] are causing more massive mortalities,” Millar says. Whitebarks are now a candidate species for the endangered species list.
an ecosystem In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, whitebarks grow between 8,000-9,700 feet. There, they stabilize soil and shade the spring snowpack, supplying rivers with consistent runoff into summer. Because they live in harsh climates with poor soil, they grow slowly. The 2-3’ diameter trees on Lone Mountain in Big Sky, for example, are several hundred years old. Without the shade they provide, a faster spring runoff would affect farming and river ecosystem health. Whitebark pines have symbiotic relationships with Clark’s nutcrackers, red squirrels and bears, and support many other species of mammals and birds. Because of this, they are considered a keystone species – one that is critical to the larger ecological community. In the
Continued from p. 57 fall, whitebark cones produce pine nuts, which are rich in fat. Red squirrels hide the nuts in caches, and grizzlies raid them. Clark’s nutcrackers, which co-evolved with whitebarks, also cache the nuts in the ground: one bird will have up to 10,000 caches, and the ones they forget may germinate and become seedlings. Tim Bennett, a bear biologist with Keystone Conservation working with the community of Big Sky on bear conflict issues, says whitebark pine nuts are an important food source for bears, particularly pregnant sows, or those with cubs. But whitebark cone crops have natural fluctuation in productivity, Bennett says, and during years of low cone production, bears descend to find other food, and bear-human conflicts increase. Alternative perspectives to the demise of whitebark pine are rarely considered but should be by managers, according to Matt Lavin, a botany professor at MSU. “One such perspective is provided by anthropological research, as summarized by Charles Mann in his book 1491,” Lavin says. “High-density bison populations could have been the result of a release of hunting pressure after the demise of the great American Indian civilizations by small pox, influenza, and other human diseases.” Lavin makes an analogy: Likewise, the many pine species in North America that grow as near monocultures could be a result of American Indians extensive burning of pine forests. “After the Indians’ demise, colonizing pines took over and became abundant during the 1900s, spurred by fire prevention programs. Now, these dense pine stands are fodder for blister rust and beetles.”
According to wildlife biologist Mike Porco, pines, especially lodgepole, have some defenses against the beetles: “They’ll secrete sap through holes where the beetles burrow, to try and push them out.” An attacked tree will have hundreds little white and reddish popcorn-shaped resin masses called pitch tubes. Photo by Gregg Treinish
Mountain pine beetles During summer in Montana, adult beetles bore into a pine’s bark and lay eggs. As they burrow, they secrete a pheromone that attracts other beetles. The adults die in the fall, and the larvae hatch in spring, forming food channels that eventually girdle the tree by cutting off its nutrient and water flow. The adult beetles emerge in mid-late July or early August. Historically beetles in the Greater Yellowstone had a two-year life cycle, Bennett says. “There is concern, and some evidence, that warmer, longer summers (climate change) will shorten their life cycle to one year.” Beetles also carry blue stain fungi, which provides them with nutrients, but clogs a tree’s circulatory system. This causes the blue coloring in beetle-killed lumber. “Beetles thrive during drought, [particularly] in stands that are tightly packed together and can’t get enough water,” says Millar, a Research Ecologist for the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. She says beetles don’t kill 100 percent of the forests they attack. Once an epidemic is over, there are usually still live trees, which are often more resistant against future outbreaks.
Blister Rust Blister rust is a fungal disease that came to America on nursery stock of eastern white pine (a relative of whitebark pine) in the early 20th century. Because the rust doesn’t move tree-to-tree—it has to go through a secondary host called Ribes (a currant or gooseberry bush)—it is slower to spread. According to Bennett, recent research documented blister rust having many more secondary hosts (for example, Indian paintbrush.) This is important, he says, because Ribes eradication campaigns have been unsuccessful. Decades of research have been conducted on this pathogen, but its spread to higher elevation pines is new, and scientists don’t entirely understand how and why it spreads. Although whitebark is one of the more susceptible pine species, some appear to be resistant to the disease.
Defenses In the heart of winter, beetle larvae are buried in the bark, protected. There, they metabolize glycerol, which acts as antifreeze. However, an early intense cold snap, or one late in the spring, can wipe them out, as will a couple weeks at 30 below, midwinter.
Jim Cancroft, a Senior Forester with Northwest Management, Inc., says a new insecticide Safari, that only needs to be applied on the lower five feet of a whitebark pine has been tested in the Big Sky area with promising results.
The 2009 aerial study found whitebark pines were less affected by beetle outbreaks in the core of the Wind River Range and the Beartooth Plateau – places not as affected by climate change. There, dwarf whitebark pine forests (called Krummholz) are resistant to beetle attacks, but still susceptible to white pine blister rust.
Research Ecologist Robert Keane specializes in whitebark restoration using sivilculture (forest thinning) and prescribed burns, both of which help forests stay healthy and create habitat for Clark’s nutcrackers. Through his work at the Rocky Mountain Research Station/Missoula fire sciences lab, Keane has seen these techniques be particularly effective in conjunction with Verbenone, a synthetic beetle pheromone that works as an attractant.
Humans have tried to control beetle epidemics in several ways. Insecticides are applied to individual trees or small groups of trees to protect them from being attacked by the beetles. The insecticide must be sprayed from the bottom to almost the top of the tree trunk, and the most common are Sevin (carbaryl) and Astro (permetherin). Sevin can be purchased by a private landowner, while Astro can only be purchased or applied by commercial applicators. Both are toxic to aquatic organisms, bees and other beneficial insects.
Keane says beetles are now killing whitebarks that survived decades of blister rust infection, and fungicide to fight the rust is costly and ineffective. Some nurseries are cultivating rust resistant whitebarks, because “if we lose those rust resistant trees to the beetles, we may lose the whitebarks.”
Part of a larger balance?
Implications of large-scale whitebark pine death Because whitebark pine nuts ripen as bears are entering hyperphagia in the fall (when they eat about 10,000 calories/ day prior to hibernating), they rely on the fatty nuts. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee predicts that in the absence of whitebark pine nuts, bears will seek out meat instead, but there is no prediction of where they will obtain it. According to Bennett, “Hunter kills and garbage cans are the most likely sources.” The bears in the Greater Yellowstone are already “more reliant on meat than bears in other areas because of low berry production [here].” Whitebarks also protect watersheds. Most precipitation in the Northern Rockies falls as snow, with the largest amounts at high elevations. According to the Missoula-based Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation, “The physical position of trees on the landscape and the up-swept branches of the crown provide shade to delay snowmelt and to retain snowdrifts until early to mid-summer.” Without that retention, peak runoff will occur earlier and summers will be drier, affecting river ecosystem health and agriculture.
Is this massive mortality doom for any species? ”Dying trees, in and of itself, is not a problem if the regeneration isn’t wiped out,” says Millar. “This is what these species have been doing for over 100 million years.” It’s the combination of beetles and blister rust that often eliminates the possibility for effective regeneration, she adds. Blister rust can kill saplings, and beetles attack trees larger than a foot in diameter. “Between the two, if you don’t have young trees growing or adult trees reproducing, then you don’t have a species.”
This photo of dead stand of whitebark pine was taken in the heart of the Gravelly Range in Southwest Montana. Here, the whitebark forests are seeing mortality of over 80%. Photo by Gregg Treinish
Ennis to the
Guided road trip and photos by Will Casella
Centennial Valley Southwest Montanaâ€™s small towns and public lands offer endless exploration for locals and visitors alike. From casual scenic drives to hardcore backcountry adventures, Montana is what you make of it. The key is to get out, get off the paved roads, and explore.
Our road trip starts in Ennis, Montana, a small cattle town with a big fishing problem. The draw: some of the best fly-fishing in the world, a Main Street studded with unique, locally owned restaurants, galleries and shops, and the dramatically beautiful Madison Valley. With quality products and services more typical of a posh resort town than a small agricultural community, Ennis is your last fullservice stop, so stock up here. If you need a fix, there are eight well posted State Fishing Access Sites along the upper Madison River that provide ample fishing opportunities. Inquire within a local fly shop for what parts of the river are fishing the best. From Ennis, continue on US 287 toward Alder. This road winds through the historical mining towns of Virginia and Nevada City. Seemingly stuck in Victorian times, these towns offer a glimpse into rich Montana history. Take a historic fire truck tour in VC, pan for gold and garnets in Alder Gulch, or saunter down the boardwalk to the Pioneer Bar or the Bale of Hay to whet your whistle and enjoy the living history. The last stop prior to getting off of the beaten path is in Alder: Chick’s Bar always has colorful and friendly charac-
ters saddled up to the horseshoe-shaped bar, and the In Back Restaurant serves up fat burgers and juicy prime-rib. Now, following signs for the Ruby River Reservoir, turn onto MT 357. This is the Upper Ruby Valley, and the next 40 miles of gravel road have stunning scenery, ample wildlife viewing and good fishing. The reservoir has excellent boating and uncrowded campsites. Continuing on, keep an eye on the river basin for moose and bears, and scope the cliffs on your left for bighorn sheep. This section of river boasts native Artic grayling, as well
the main road you’ll be fine. Cutting through the heart of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, this road offers unparalleled vistas of near 10,000’ peaks and backcountry adventures galore. FR 100 turns into route 204 at the entrance to the Centennial Valley, an otherworldly place of vast prairies and wetlands. Turn left on North Side Road (route 268) heading into Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. These wetlands have great bird and wildlife viewing—keep an eye out for Trumpeter swans, which convene here each year by the thousands to breed. Off route 268, follow signs for Elk and Hidden Lake, two of the most stunning lakes in Southwest Montana. There are several camping areas, and Elk Lake Resort offers accommodations and dining.
as rainbow and cutthroat trout; however, it is a delicate small stream fishery so please treat with according respect. Soon the topography begins to change. Sprawling working ranches are exchanged for narrow pine forest valleys. MT 357 turns into Gravelly Range Road (FR 100)—there are no road signs, but if you don’t turn off
This loop could be completed in one long day, or over the course of weeks, for those willing to stop and explore. There are many rustic campsites in Ennis, on the Reservoir, along the Upper Ruby River, and on Elk and Hidden Lake. A variety of motel, lodge and RV accommodations are available in Ennis, Virginia City and Alder. Pack your bags and hit the trail. The diverse scenery, wildlife, and outdoor recreation in the Ruby and Centennial Valleys will not let you down.
Follow Red Rock Pass Road (route 201) out of the Centennial Valley to Henry’s Lake. From here, you can continue back to Ennis via US 87 or carry on to West Yellowstone via US 20 concluding your Montana backcountry road-trip. Will Casella has been wandering the world in pursuit of the ultimate outdoor travelling/camping/fly fishing experience for the past 10 years. Since unpacking his bags in Bozeman, he started Phasmid Rentals, through which he shares his passion for Montana and selfdrive adventures by providing outfitted rental vehicles and itinerary planning for like-minded souls. Phasmid is part of the Outlaw marketing grant program. phasmidrentals.com
Grand Canyon If you ever get invitedâ€Ś.GO!
By Eric Ladd
Everyone dreams of a ‘trip of a lifetime.’ I’ve been blessed, and can put my trips into categories: that one mountain, that one place to ski, that one elusive black marlin, and rafting the Grand Canyon on a private permit. I wanted a trip on the Grand to be on my terms, not a commercial trip. When I set out ten years ago to take this trip, I didn’t expect it would take until this past year to achieve it. Grand Canyon private river permits are some of the most sacred in the world. Over five million people go to view the Grand Canyon on an annual basis, and of
those, only 25,000 ever reach the canyon floor and go boating. The vast majority goes via commercial trip. Only 450 private permits are handed out annually— better odds on the craps tables of Vegas than pulling a private permit! Year after year, I struck out on the permit and settled for another amazing river adventure in Idaho, Colorado and Montana, but the “big ditch” always remained on my list. Last year, my wife pulled the permit. Ironically, I was the one who’d signed her up 10 months earlier. When the email came through, “You have won the Grand Canyon Lottery Permit,” we had 45 days to put together a group, details and cargo for the 21-day raft trip of a lifetime.
Photo by Matty Mccain
Cheryl running the rapids in an inflatable kayak photo by Matty McCain
Corbett Baker jumping into a side canyon Oasis Photo by matty mccain
photo by brian niles
In early May, our group of 16 friends and family loaded boats onto trailers in Montana and drove south. With spring’s desert bloom, warm days and cool nights, it was the perfect season to be in the Grand Canyon. Our six rafts held 50 cases of beer and 12 coolers of gourmet meals. Only one person from our group had ever been there. A guest on a previous trip, Dave remembered some fuzzy details, but otherwise we were at the mercy of the topo maps and guidebooks – John Welsey Powell, who pioneered boating in the Grand Canyon in 1869, would have been proud and jealous. The Canyon is known for rapids like Crystal, Hermit, Horn and the famed Lava Falls—over 90 rapids in 300 miles. But more than 90 percent of the float is flat water, and regulars had told me the side hikes, campsites, historic ruins and waterfalls would be the highlights. How right they were. The miles and days clicked by with systematic precision, our group working together swapping out duties cooking, cleaning and setting up the groover. Nicknames were appointed, costumes appeared and everyone took turns on the oars learning to row. My parents, always keen for an adventure, hiked 5000’ 64 Mountain
and seven miles out of the canyon at the midway point, allowing other friends to join us for the second half of the trip. I rowed a 14’ Sotar cataraft because I wanted to go in classic style with a small boat, solo. Pulling up to a rapid, I’d quickly scout out the line, give hand signals back to the other boats and then start rowing like hell. The big rapids held waves upwards of 15’, as well as monster, school bus-sized holes in classic pooldrop style. Flat water leading up to them gave me time to stare, witnessing the beast and Mother Nature. Often, the knot in my stomach took my breath away. The canyon is rich with history, and floating through it is a journey through 2 billion years of geology—the razor-sharp rock that sliced one of our rafts on an unnamed rapid at mile marker 84 clocked in at approximately 1.75 billion years old. For 10,000 years, humans have been hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon, and today, boaters can explore 1,000+ yearold cliff dwellings. It first gained protection in 1893, when President Benjamin Harrison declared it a National Forest Preserve. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson made the Grand Canyon the United States 17th National Park.
Brandy, Troy and Ben going for a Grand swim in Horn Rapid photo by matty mccain
photo by brian niles
‘If you could go back to the put in right now, would you?’ We all agreed, ‘Hell, yes.’
Some of the essentials for a Grand Canyon Trip Raft - Self-bailer, 18’ is the ideal craft for this expedition. Sotar rafts are some of the most durable in the industry, with welded joints, custom coloring and great customer service. Based in Merlin, OR – order your boats early as they take some time to build. sotar.com Life Jackets – So many choices, so many
great companies. Get one that is comfortable and quality. DO NOT borrow someone’s ‘old’ jacket. Extrasport is one of the leaders in the industry with the Pro Creeker model a favorite of many whitewater enthusiasts. extrasport.com
Outfitting – A few companies can help outfit your Grand Canyon trip, especially food. The outfitting companies are an amazing resource and make these trips happen. It’s an art to pack food for 21+ days, and Pro River Outfitters have the system dialed. Since 1983, they’ve been outfitting groups renting everything from boats, to menu planning, to all the little ‘extras’ that make the trips work. They deliver to the put-in and meet you at the take-out. Totally Pro. proriver.com
photo by matty mccain
As river time slowed to a snail’s pace, I felt awestruck by the beauty and grateful for visionaries like Powell and Roosevelt who helped discover and preserve this national keepsake. At top speed, you can make eight miles an hour. Our satellite phone barely worked, and we rarely saw other groups. Side hikes up slot canyons, Indian ruins, caves large enough to hold 15,000 people, and 500’ waterfalls—all in a day’s work. Wine in the box (amazing invention for river trips), grilled rib eyes and Dutch oven desserts. Horseshoes and Bocce ball tournaments and raft repairs after hitting the schist walls. So much better than cleaning my house and paying bills. The park service deserves a huge “atta boy” for how they manage this amazing resource. Even with 25,000 people on the river every year, the campsites were nearly spotless. 21 days seems long. Can I take that much time off? Will I get tired of the other people on the trip? Do we have enough beer? The days blended together, and before we knew it we were rafting into the upper reaches of Lake Mead and being invaded by the helicopter tours from Vegas. Lake Mead was a mess. Sediment banks were over 30’ high, and there was no shoreline for stopping or camping. A combination
of the drought and the massive demand for water in the Southwest has caused the reservoir’s water levels to sink daily. Even so, with the boats tied together in a party barge, we toasted the canyon as we emerged into the open desert. ‘If you could go back to the put in right now, would you?’ We all agreed, ‘Hell, yes.’
WE MOVE THE INDUSTRY FORWARD
The group decided to spend one last night as a unit and made the foolish decision to go to Vegas. As we were checking into the marble lobby of the Mandalay Bay, we became the show. People stared, and the woman at the front desk gasped. Here stood one of our river mates, Corbett, 21 days out from a shower, hair completely out of control, in stained shorts, holding all his needed possessions in a small dirty dry bag and light blue dented ammo-can. This was no Louie Vitton! We huddled on the fake beach of the pool and began to recount stories from the canyon. Did that really just happen? Man, this world moves too fast! Is that a margarita in a three-foot tall glass shaped like the Eiffel Tower? Please transport me back to Tequila Beach at the bottom of Lava Falls—now that’s Grand.
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Afternoon walk in the Ait Bougemez valley
Cloe Erickson’s Mud Castles, Mountains Morocco: and Misperceptions By Felicia Ennis The cool and clear Ahansal River Valley cuts through dry, rocky earth below the terraced fields in the Zawiya Ahansal Valley on the northern slope of Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. Massive limestone cliffs rise above the valley floor, and pine trees dot the hillsides, and tidy, stacked stone houses sit precariously perched, weathered. This quiet valley is home to approximately 10,000 -15,000 Berbers, one of the indigenous peoples of North Africa. These settlers welcome the annual summer arrival of seminomadic shepherds, and other visiting Berbers coming from the Sahara in the south. Protected from desert winds, Zawiya Ahansal was long a thriving center for learning and religion, and a place for tribes to come together to trade and see family after months in the Sahara. But today, the villages there have less wealth, and fewer nomads, intellectuals and spiritual leaders. Also, because the remote High Atlas region is far from centralized government, the region’s education and health systems are not modernized. Livingston, Montana-based architect, Cloe Erickson, has spent several months every year for the past five years in the remote Zawiya Ahansal Valley working to restore a historic structure called the Amezray Igherm. Unique to North Africa, Igherms are collective granaries that provided safe storage for food and people during tribal conflict. Historically, each
family in the village had a room in the Igherm. As nomadic people have moved to cities in search of work and since Morocco no longer has tribal conflict, historic and defensive buildings like the Igherm have fallen into decay. Originally from Northwest Montana, Erickson graduated from MSU in Bozeman with a Master of Architecture degree in 2000. Historic preservation in Morocco caught her attention when she and her husband, photographer and The North Face athlete Kristoffer Erickson, honeymooned in
Erickson greeting Igherm owners
making 3500 adobe bricks by hand, each with the proper proportions of earth, lime and water. The crew stacked bricks, local stones and wood to structurally stabilize the building, but halted construction then until more funding was secured and restoration could continue. Cloe had begun her journey as a Western woman among rural Berbers in Morocco.
Ahansal valley village
Zawiya Ahansal in 2003. Lured to the valley by European tales of great rock climbing, Cloe found the rock and the routes, and she also found inspiration in the historic architecture in the region. On that first trip to the region, Cloe’s gentle manner, natural ability to build trust, and her Arabic language skills initiated her connection with the people and the area. Invigorated by this experience, she hoped to use her training as an architect in the Zawiya Ahansal Valley to restore the Amezray Igherm, maintain local ownership, and turn it into a community library and meeting place. “In the beginning I assumed the depth of my work would be limited because I was a woman in a Muslim culture,” said Cloe. “[But] being a woman has turned into a tremendous benefit... I have found acceptance and access to the people, and even an elevated level of respect. I am allowed to work among both genders in a manner that not even my husband has access to.“ After a year of meticulous work and numerous ‘official stamps’ she attained the legal papers necessary to 70 Mountain
begin construction; this was the first official property deed in the history of the region.
“Being a woman [working in a Muslim culture] has turned into a tremendous benefit. I have found acceptance and access to the people, and even an elevated level of respect.” The Igherms were constructed with “rammed earth,” a building style that requires lime, earth and water. This antiquated technique was new to Cloe, but by 2009, through her efforts, reconstruction of the Amezray Igherm began. She spent the summer working with rammed earth experts including Salima Naji, a Moroccan architect and anthropologist who specializes in rammed earth adobe architecture and Igherm restoration. Through Ms. Naji’s connections, they hired three skilled local master craftsmen. Hailing from many villages away, these men left their homes to work on the project. For them, it was an opportunity not only for work, but to pass on their skills. The craftsmen directed a crew in
In 2009, Bill Rea, a professor of Architecture at Montana State University, joined Cloe’s project in Morocco. For the past two years, a group of university students spent six weeks of their summer taking part in the restoration of the Amezray Igherm and laying the groundwork for future projects. The 2011 students will produce a regional preservation survey, which will be submitted to the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and to UNESCO. Cloe is proud “to offer students an intimate experience with the local people. Their time in Morocco is more than an educational exercise— their work directly increases the quality of life for the people while giving them a chance to experience an international and nontraditional career path.” The students will do all of their work by hand, because the minimal electricity from solar and micro-hydro power does not support computers. The Amezray Igherm restoration is soon to be complete, and new projects are underway. Cloe has received approval and partnership from the Moroccan Ministry of Culture for several other similar restoration projects in the valley. This remarkable partnership provides basic funds for the historic preservation of the buildings, however additional funds are needed for adapting these buildings to modern community needs. For more information or to donate, visit atlasculturalfoundation.org.
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The Dog’s Tooth. Old Crows follows the narrow white streak just right of center. photo by luke rice
A first ascent on a remote rock wall By Loren Rausch By mid-August, Scott Salzer and I both needed to tear off the drama and city grime plastered to our souls. I’d been balancing a job, a college workload in secondary education, and a chronically broken vehicle. We knew no better way to cleanse ourselves than by attempting to climb a loose, obscure rock wall in a remote mountain range. At 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, we left Bozeman, headed for The Dog’s
Tooth, a 900’ cliff hidden at 10,200’ in the Crazy Mountains of South-Central Montana.
in a hay field. When we finally crept into the parking lot, Jupiter hung bright in the southern sky.
As we drove north of Livingston at dusk, the grassy hills rising out of the Shields River reminded me of the farm where I grew up in Eastern Montana. Above them, the Crazies rose dramatically. The Native American Crow culture called these “the mountains of mountains,” a name which suited our adventurous spirit.
At 5:30 a.m. we left the warmth of our sleeping bags and devoured meager bowls of instant oatmeal. For the first three miles, we rode mountain bikes along an old logging road. We hid the bikes where the road petered out and hiked the remaining three miles to Cottonwood Lake.
But, trying to find the trailhead we got lost in the dark Rock climbing on several nondescript grades, explained dirt roads, each of American rock climbs are graded which termifor difficulty with the Yosemite Decimal System, which rates technical climbs nated along a scale from 5.0 to 5.15. 5.3 is a walk in the park, and above 5.10 is expert. Loose rock and remoteness – like on the Dog’s Tooth – add another set of difficulties. Loren and Scott rated Old Crows 5.9.
Daybreak found us a quarter mile from the lake, in a beautiful alpine meadow. At the head of the cirque, the westfacing wall rose dark above the vanishing ice of Grasshopper Glacier. To the best of our knowledge, there was only one established climb on this ominous cliff—done
in 1974, “The Brother Bear” route was notorious for poor quality rock. As we pondered which line to climb, a golden eagle flew directly over our heads. It glided along a vertical streak of white rock that went from base to summit. This is what we were going to climb! We organized our gear and Scott led the first 200’ up low-angle rock to a crumbling ledge. I led the second pitch, a notch harder. Then, Scott took us up a beautiful and scary 5.9 pitch, climbing around a huge detached flake. I planned to kick the flake off once I passed it, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, imagining the crash of the two-ton rock into the glacier below.
I ventured up a beautiful dark slab, climbing finger-sized cracks. Then, the rock turned white and steepened. I followed another discontinuous crack system, wedging my hands into 2”-wide fissures that were surprisingly steep and loose. The last 100’ was terrifying. Desk-sized blocks were wedged together on an overhanging wall, and I was smack dab in the center. I had a vision of the whole mass detaching from the wall; tons and tons of car-sized rubble exploding off the face, the smell of smashed rock and broken bodies. After two hours of intense climbing, of checking every hold and keeping calm, I emerged on a textbook-shaped ledge of good rock. Shaken, I built an anchor from my remaining gear.
Next, I led a steep, but moderately difficult section and stopped at the only real ledge we found all day. We lounged, took off our shoes, and ate. Above looked steep and intimidating.
As I belayed Scott up to me, I was transfixed watching a murder of 20+ crows flying at eye-level next to us, cawing, cooing and floating on thermals. We climbed the last 100’ to the top of the wall over exposed and fun terrain on solid rock. Scrambling to the summit, we looked out over the network of steep,
glacially carved peaks and knife-edge ridges, shattered talus fields, and cliffs guarding mountain lakes. We descended to Rock Lake, then climbed over a ridge back to Grasshopper Glacier. Alpenglow lit the Dog’s Tooth, its face changing from grey to a warm pink hue. Jupiter appeared again in the twilight as we relaxed in the meadow. We hiked out in the dark, found our bikes, and did the last three miles in 15 minutes, crashing the bikes a handful of times on the rutted road. We called our route Old Crows, after the birds that flew nearby while I’d led the crux pitch. I imagined they’d watched us climbing slowly upwards, and perhaps even thought us to be deranged, if not curious, creatures. Driving the dirt roads back to Clyde Park we agreed the climbing was loose and terrifying, but the coarse rock of the Dog’s Tooth had rubbed our souls clean. For more of Loren Rausch’s stories, visit the Dukkha Diaries at yerbaman .blogspot.com.
Geology Geologically separate and younger than the rest of the Rocky Mountains, the Crazies were formed about 50 million years ago when a mass of white-hot magma intruded into the overlying sand and mud. Glaciation and erosion have since left the dramatic range at the edge of the plains. At 11,214’, Crazy Peak is the highest point.
photo by loren rausch
Roadless but vulnerable Part of the Gallatin and Lewis & Clark National Forest, this 136,547-acre roadless area is the largest mountain range in Montana without wilderness classification – leaving it open to mining and logging. Namesake A popular story has it that a white woman went crazy when Indians killed her family nearby, giving the peaks their name. Her story is told in the book Mountain Man and the movie “Jeremiah Johnson.” An Indian legend credits the name Crazy Mountains to the peaks’ wild steepness, rugged beauty, and haunting winds.
Merrill Lynch is extremely proud of Scott L. Brown for being recognized on Barron’s “Top 1,000 Advisors” ranking. Our Financial Advisors demonstrate every day how a one-on-one relationship, knowledge, insight and one of the broadest platforms in the industry can impact clients’ lives. Congratulations from all of us at Merrill Lynch.
The Brown Spiker Group Scott L. Brown, CFP®, CRPC®, CIMA® Senior Vice President – Investments Associate Resident Director Portfolio Manager PIA Program (800) 362-7801 Merrill Lynch 801 West Main Street, Suite 3C Bozeman, MT 59715 http://fa.ml.com/brownspikergroupmt
Source: Barron’s “America’s Top Advisors: State-by-State,” February 21, 2011. Barron’s is a trademark of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Financial advisor criteria: minimum seven years of financial services experience and employment at current firm for at least one year. Numerous quantitative and qualitative measures determine the financial advisor rankings. The bull symbol, help2recognize and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management are registered trademarks or trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer and member SIPC, and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured
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Better than shooting gophers By Victor DeLeo My shorts looked like a soiled diaper turned inside out. I’d just shouldered my bike over a swampy cow pasture, and now the muscles in my muddy quads burned to near melting. At the relay, I mustered a sloppy high-five for my teammate, MJ. Spectators were laughing. What could possibly be funny? It was our fourth hour at “24 Hours of Rapelje,” the only mountain bike race in Montana of its kind. The USA Cycling sanctioned event has four race categories: solo riders, three and five person teams, and Carnival Class, which has as many people as a cheerleading squad. The 14.2 mile course is
non-technical single-track; if it doesn’t rain and your equipment makes it. With live music, beer and a midnight pancake breakfast, the race has equal amounts partying and pedaling. We came to win—even though there were no prizes. Victors would take home a marble plaque the size of a deck of cards. They’d also have their pictures put on the wall in the town’s only eatery, The Stockman Cafe. But after my disappointing lap, our fiveman team was losing. Rapelje, Montana, is an unincorporated farming and ranching community of about 100 people, 24 miles north of Columbus in Stillwater County. Cattle,
The 24 Hours of Rapelje
feedlots and silos dominate the town. “If it doesn’t have a motor in it, we don’t ride it,” volunteer race director Mike Erfle told us. His dad, the late Wayne “Cork” Erfle, started the race 10 years ago. He’s never worn biker spandex either. The town of Rapelje has relied on fundraisers since the railroad quit coming through. “24 Hours” is the busiest day Rapelje sees, tripling the population. The second most popular event, the Gopher Derby, is a rifle shoot-out to see who can bag the most prairie dogs. Locals volunteer for both. The money raised from the race supports the Stockman Cafe, the school and other civic needs.
Rapelje, Montana (pronounced RAP-el-jay) is 24 miles north of Columbus, Montana, on Highway 408. If you reach a stop sign, you’ve arrived. Typically, the annual race occurs the last weekend of June. Participants camp in a mown field just south of four grain elevators. RVs are welcome. Showers are available. For an entry fee of $60/person, you can enjoy live music, an afternoon barbecue, free pancakes and a farewell dinner. BYOB. 131 racers registered in 2010. There is a shorter race for kids 6-15, as well as carnival games and a petting zoo. Winners and losers ride the same country road out of town. Racers, including Big Sky’s Ben Macht in red, run to their bikes in a classic “Lemond Start.” photo by Pete Bolane
Stockman Café chairman, Mike Erfle is open to new ideas every year. “Just let us know if you want us to change something,” he says. “We’ll try anything once.”
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Continued from p. 77 When I started my third lap at 2 a.m., the rest of my team was asleep. As a relay, only one team member rides at a time, so the others may tuck into a sleeping bag, eat or do keg stands. But I was focused on rescuing lost time. Headlamp shining the way, I locked my attention to the dry trail. I stood on my cleats, wrenched on the handlebars, smashed on the cranks. Bring on the pain. Not gold, I was going for the marble. A cow mooed. As I estimated five miles to go, I was peaking. Then my light faded to auburn. I fiddled with the switch, tapped the dim beam, then gripped the brakes hard. My battery was dead, and I was blindfolded by darkness. By chasing bikers with working headlamps, I found the relay line, tapped MJ and returned to my tent. Too hungry to sleep, too beaten to cook, I had only one option—the pancake feast at the Stockman Café!
A non-profit community hub, the café is owned and operated by local volunteers. At 4 a.m., the servers doled out pancakes, and their light-hearted spirit made me forget I was there to race. This was a 24-hour treatment room for the defeated. Back on the bike at 6 a.m., I needed no lights. The sun rose over mountain ranges separated by enough farmland to feed whole countries. It was my final lap, and the prospect of relief gave me new energy. The pain was almost over, and winning no longer seemed to matter. We still had beer at our campsite. Crowds rallied at the finish line. When our last man reached the end, we tallied the scores. I tallied them a second time. Then a third. Wait a minute, did we win? Yep, we were the fastest five-man singlespeed team. We’d actually won before we started. We were the only team in our class.
Grain silos mark the start/end of the Rapelje race course Photo by Pete Bolane
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National Dirt Bike Race Series comes to Big Sky august 27-28 By Joe Miller | photo by ken lancey
In late August, the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) West Hare Scrambles Championship Series comes to Big Sky for its sixth, and final, round. The 2011 series started January 1 in Arizona, and travels though California and Oregon before finishing at Big Sky Resort, August 27-28. The KLIM Big Sky XC attracts over 300 racers from every Western state, as well as from the Midwest. The event is also round six of the Montana XC Series, a local amateur racing series that crisscrosses Montana in April-September. The (hare scrambles) format requires a course at least three miles long, and a race at least two hours long. At the ski resort, Big Sky’s course has single track, service roads, steep rocky climbs and descents, and the spectator-friendly 80 Mountain
endurocross section, which is just above the Swift Current chairlift and includes rocks, logs, tires, and other obstacles that test racers’ technical riding ability and fitness. The expert/pro loop of the Big Sky XC is nearly nine miles long and is widely considered to be the most technical and demanding of the series.
“It was exciting to dirt bike at the place I ski.” Matt Wieland, who raced in the open B class at Big Sky last year, said it was it was one of the hardest physical things he’s done, especially racing for over two hours on such a challenging course. “It
definitely worked me over. If there’s any race I’d go back to, it’d be that one. It was exciting to dirt bike at the place I ski.” The athletes at the top level of this type of motorcycle racing spend countless hours preparing and training. Last year’s winner, Nathan Woods, was tragically killed while practicing for the 2011 racing season. Woods held multiple national off road motorcycle racing championships and was a member of the 2010 six-man team USA for the International Six Days Enduro competition, an annual event considered to be the sport’s most important race of the year. There will be an award commemorating his legacy at the Big Sky event this summer. bigskyxc.com montanaxc.com
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Bud Lilly’s True Story of war, baseball, and coming home to Montana By Hunter Rothwell
During the post-World War II era, fly fishermen from all over the world came to Yellowstone and the West because of a popular trout shop and the writings of that shop’s owner. In 1952, a young man from Manhattan, Montana opened what would become a landmark— Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop, still at the corner of Madison and Canyon Streets in West Yellowstone. Bud Lilly is a legend in the fly fishing community. For 30 years he outfitted and guided anglers. No other individual did more to promote fly fishing and fisheries conservation in Yellowstone and North America. A founding member of the Montana Chapter of Trout Unlimited in 1962, Bud and this organization fought hard against many dam proposals that threatened the Yellowstone River. Today, the 692-mile Yellowstone is the longest undammed river in the contiguous U.S., with excellent trout habitat and a reputation as one of the world’s great trout streams. 82 Mountain
Walen Francis Lilly II was born in 1925 in Manhattan, Montana. Bud, Sr., his father and namesake, was the barber in town and was an avid baseball fan. Although Bud, Sr. was a passionate outdoorsman and taught young Buddy the art of fly fishing, Bud, Sr. was determined his son would be a major league baseball player. Buddy [who was sometimes called “Red” because of his orange hair], received his first bat and glove at age five. His early baseball career was primarily sandlot games, but it was apparent he had a special talent for the game. At 12, he began playing organized baseball. By the early age of 14, Buddy was playing on the Gallatin Valley Men’s Team, an independent team basically supported by Bud, Sr. The anchor of the team was former pro pitcher, Bob Hendrix. Although Hendrix had a drinking problem and demanded a $25 fee after every Sunday game (collected by passing a hat), he was still good for 16-18 strikeouts per game. Buddy played second base and was by far the youngest player on a team that ranged from 14-50 years explorebigsky.com
old. They had great success and gained a reputation as one of the best in the state. The Gallatin Valley Men’s Team played against several types of teams. Many teams were from the “Miner’s League” out of Butte, and most white ball players were primarily miners. Black teams were typically men who worked as baggage handlers, porters and other railroad workers on the Union Pacific. Players brought their families and made an event out of Sunday games. Most of the men that played with and against Buddy had children his age. Some of the strongest competition came from teams formerly part of the Negro National League [NNL]. The Kansas City Monarchs, for example, spent several years as an independent team, mostly barnstorming through the Midwest, West,
and Western Canada. On one Sunday afternoon in 1940, the Kansas City Monarchs came to Montana to play against Buddy’s team. In the tough economic times of pre-WWII America, black players traveled and played for and against local teams for little money. Because black players had no access to the white dominated major leagues of that era, some of the best ball players were not in the majors. On that day in 1940, Buddy went up to bat against, arguably, one of the best pitchers to ever play the game on any level. Satchel Paige had been pitching professionally since 1926 and had just joined the Monarchs that season. By 1941, this legendary team (which included Hall of Famers Hilton Smith and Willard Brown) had won three NNL Championships in a row. Satchel and his teammates thought it a great hoot that
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Continued from p. 82 this team of Montana farmers had a little kid, barely five feet tall, playing second base. The next youngest player was in his early 20s.
shop in West Yellowstone during his summer break. In 1970, Bud retired from teaching, and in 1982 he sold Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop (although the name did not change).
When Buddy took his turn at the plate, staring at Satchel Paige, he smacked a ground ball single and ended up on first base. He advanced to second after a follow up single. Feeling confident, he made his mind up to steal third base. The third baseman was comfortably waiting with the ball, and as Bud recalls, “he just sort of scooped me up when I slid in.” Satchel Paige went on to become the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball history when he signed with the Cleveland Indians [during the playoffs] at age 42. In 1971, he became the first player from the Negro leagues inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. With the integration of Major League Baseball, Paige finally got his chance in the majors. Buddy’s opportunity came a bit earlier in life. He’d gained a reputation as a talented ball player, particularly for his age. Two men from the Cincinnati Reds were at one Sunday afternoon game, scouting the team. Bud, Sr. introduced his son to the scouts after the game and asked Buddy to take them fly fishing. Both men were experienced fly fisherman, and the boy impressed them with his advanced skills—he caught a lot of fish. Two years later, when Buddy was 17, the two men came back to see him play again. They offered him a contract to play for the Cincinnati Reds farm team, the Salt Lake City Bee’s, after he graduated from Manhattan High School. However, World War II was on and another institution came calling and that took precedent over his baseball career. Buddy was headed to Butte, Montana and the Navy Officer’s Training Program. Buddy spent two years in Butte training in the V-12 program (the same program taught at Annapolis). He received his commission and reported to St. John’s Cathedral in New York City. He and 84 Mountain
Bud lives in Manhattan, is an avid fly fisherman and is still involved in supporting fly fishing causes. As his father foresaw, Bud was destined to be a standout in whatever he put his mind and effort toward.
Bud Lilly in his navy uniform
30,000 other officers around the country completed the program (the program started with 60,000). Then it was off to Bainbridge, MD for Navy boot camp. Bud now jokes, “I had to go to that camp for a month to find out what boots did.” He spent May - July of 1945 in Miami, where he was trained on destroyers, subchasers, and PT boats. Bud remembers when he was in Miami, the Russians were there as well, training: “One of the Russians ran a training ship into the middle of Biscane Blvd. That’s not something you see everyday.” He eventually shipped out for Italy, on his way to the Pacific to invade Japan. Buddy returned to Montana after the war and enrolled at Montana State College in Bozeman. He played baseball one last time during summer of 1947, with the Knights of Columbus. However, he’d been married in March and dreams of professional baseball were well in his past. Bud, Sr. passed away in 1949 and from that time on “Buddy” was known as “Bud”. Bud Lilly received his Masters in Education from the University of Montana at Missoula in 1951. For 25 years, he taught high school math and science, first in Deerlodge and then in Bozeman. He also guided and ran the fly
Life has a strange way of unfolding. The world’s conflicts of the 1940s sent Bud and countless others in an unintended direction. Brave young men like Bud did not think twice when they left home to serve their country and defend our freedoms. But who knows? Had he made it to the Cincinnati Reds, Bud Lilly could have been the greatest baseball player to ever come out of Montana. Now well into his 80s, Bud Lilly’s current project is developing a new park where disabled vets, their families and other handicapped fly fishers can access fishing. A few years ago, Lilly was scouting a new fishing access site for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks when he realized there was no access for the disabled or disabled vets. With the help of local American Legion posts in Bozeman, Belgrade, Manhattan and Three Forks, the “Veteran’s Fishing Park” is becoming a reality. Tim Crawford, a landowner along the Gallatin River donated about a 1/2 mile of river frontage for a fishing park, which will offer ADA compliant access ramps for disabled anglers. The state will also install a new boat access in the same vicinity.
“The veteran’s park is not just a tribute to these special men and women,” Lilly says. “It’s a legacy for fly-fishing and everything that goes with it – the quality of the water speaks to the quality of life. We need to preserve Montana’s waterways by honoring them just like we honor our vets. It can’t be any other way.”
Call Martha Johnson & A s s o c i a t e s Broker | President
(406) 995.2022 (406) 580.5891 View Entire Inventory www.RiversToPeaks.com Big Sky, MT Town Center
The Club at Spanish Peaks - Elk Wallow Lodge Custom Built Home on 4 Acres. $2,950,000 - Call Suzanne (406) 993.5400
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Spanish Peaks North - 229 Amber Lily 5 Bedroom, 5.5 Bath. Custom Log Home. $2,695,000 - Call Kevin (406) 995.2022
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This information is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change, withdrawal and approval of purchase by owner. All information from sources is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed by Rivers To Peaks Real Estate. Application for membership and membership purchase required at closing for The Club at Spanish Peaks properties. Martha Johnson, Managing Broker | Owner explorebigsky.com Mountain
Artist and Storyteller Originally from Sydney, Montana, Tom Thornton spent 30 years as a cowboy and a hunting guide outside of Lewistown. He moved to Bozeman in 2003, and now shares a studio in South Cottonwood with his partner, artist Tina Deweese.
Thornton often stops by Stacey’s Bar and Steakhouse in Gallatin Gateway with his artwork—he’ll lay a bronze on the pool table and have the entire bar captivated with a tale. Here, he recounts the story behind “Man Vs. Wild”, a pair of paintings depicting a horse wreck. E.S.
The Horse Wreck My horses all get away from me at first, because I can’t hold my dally. There’s so much tonnage out there bucking beside me, when they all get to moving one way, and I’m trying to get them lined up so they’re in front of one another, but they pull and
get away. Wherever they go, they’re all tied together, charging down through the woods. They’re colts, knocking all around. I get them gathered up, and I go again, [but] it isn’t five minutes before they go again…They do it a second time. I’m riding a big stout horse, so [the third time] I knock out a bowline knot and just tie them hard and fast to my saddle horn. They are not going to pull my dally away. When they blow up that third time, the paint horse, he ducks in on the left hand side of me and then just quits bucking and starts racing. Because I’m tied on hard and fast, that lead rope comes right alongside my kidneys. I’m spurring my horse up to try and outrun this, but there’s no place for me to go except over the head of my horse–there’s a lot of tonnage pulling me that way. And he does, he pulls me over the head of my saddle horse. I thought maybe I broke my back. I couldn’t feel my legs, couldn’t move ‘em. My feet weren’t working. My brother Eddie pulls up. He says, ‘Well, what’ll I do, call 9-1-1?’
“Man Vs. Wild”
“Missouri River Bend,” oil on canvas, triptych, 37” x 15’, Gallatin River Gallery in Big Sky
“At sunset, I had 200 head of elk squirt by me on the Missouri River. I was so close I could hear them breathing. I couldn’t get my horse to move, and I’d already killed my elk, so I just got to be a witness. I had dreams every night about those elk, so I exorcised that out of me—after I painted it, I stopped having those dreams.” I say, “Well first, gather my horses up.” Because now my horse is tied to the whole shooting match. So he does. And then, when he comes back, about a half hour later, I was starting to get the feeling back in my legs, thinking I just got hit pretty hard and I’m bruised, you know? So I get up on my hands and knees when he shows there, but he can’t get close to me, because it’s almost dark and these colts don’t want to get anywhere near me, because they don’t know what I am – I’m on my hands and knees. So then I get up on my knees, and Eddie coaxes them, and here they come. He says ‘Well, what do I do? Are we going back to the truck, or are we going to camp?’ I say, ‘Get me on my horse, and I’ll make a decision then.’ He put me back on my horse, and I say, ‘It feels good up here, let’s go. We have eight miles to go [to our hunting camp], and it’s dark out. My brother had to unpack six or seven pack horses, tents, tables, stoves. That was like a 16-mile rounder.
I stayed in camp ten days, in the Little Belt Mountains. Donny Hayes was there, a friend of ours. He’d been down to Mexico, and he’d brought back a bottle of pain pills you can buy over the counter down there. He said, ‘Take two or three of these and drink a little whisky, and you won’t hurt.’ So, that’s what I did for 10 days at camp. We had a couple cases, a half-gallon of whiskey. We ended up with like 18 people in that camp, mostly relatives and friends. There weren’t any paying dudes. The moral of the story is, never tie hard and fast to colts that are entering ‘Packing 101!’ Thornton did break his back in that horse wreck. He had surgery a year later, in 1999, and is now mostly retired from his cowboy lifestyle. He says, in retrospect, tying a pack string to his saddle horn was “a bad idea with colts.” Thornton is currently showing his work in the Cottonwood Gallery in Bozeman – shows by appointment, (406) 763-4920
“Every painting teaches me another lesson. You’re limited with a painting, but you can have a horse totally off the ground, where in a bronze you can’t completely suspend them. With bronze, I like that I have all the dimensions”
Music J e s s i c a
K i l ro y
B y Em i l y S t i f l e r
Photos by michael clark
Growing up without TV or electricity in Eureka, Montana encouraged Jessica Kilroy to be creative. She remembers running around in the woods with her brother Jason, “climbing trees and singing songs.” She’d play an old broken guitar, and he drummed on cardboard boxes. In high school, Kilroy’s music teacher, Michael Atherton, was her inspiration. ‘Mr. A’ produced her first album, “Before Dawn,” in 2003. Often described as angelic, Kilroy’s singing voice has a maturity that resonates beyond her small frame. Having worked
as a hotshot firefighter, wilderness therapy instructor, limo driver, snowmobile guide, and now a professional musician and songwriter, Kilroy’s strong spirit comes through in her music. In 2009 she was a finalist at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s songwriting competition. Kilroy describes Eureka as “small and tightly-knit.” Indeed—now she’s partnered with electronic artist, Kier Atherton, Mr. A’s son. Their band, Pterodactyl Plains, is made entirely of Eureka natives. A cross of folk and electronica, the music is “cinematic and landscape oriented.” They’ve recorded two hypnotic, addicting albums, and toured across the U.S. and in Europe.
electronic music. His music has a lot of movement. With touring, I was always moving, so I started writing lyrics over his loops.
Q&A How long have you been writing songs? When I was 17, I started writing music. I wasn’t serious, I just loved it. In 2004, I met Skip Ewing (Grammy award winning singer/songwriter) at an open mic night in Jackson, Wyoming. He invited me to play at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. The Bluebird is a hole in the wall, but it’s famous—a lot of great songwriters were discovered there. That’s when I first considered songwriting as a career. What was Nashville like? I was pretty star-struck at first. I’m a country girl though, and it’s not my thing to live among millions of people trying to grovel to the top of the music industry. But I still go almost every year and co-write with country artists.
Did you go to school for music? I took music classes at University of Montana, but it was too stuffy. I don’t know how to read music. I do it all by ear. After a semester, the Dean told me, ‘You’re a fish out of water. Withdraw, or we’ll fail you.’ That kicked me in the pants. I went to school for three years, then got a job with the hotshots, fighting fire. I never finished my last semester. Tell me about touring in Europe. Kier and I went to Europe last spring. It was a whirlwind of 10 countries in three months. It was
How did you make connections there? In 2007, a Greek man, Dimitris Lampos, heard my music on MySpace and emailed me. He was an accountant and a folk musician. He was depressed, because nobody in Greece likes folk. I told him he should be a folk musician, even if it was hard. So, he quit his accounting job, made an album and had me sing on a song. It became a big hit in Greece. I also contacted a Belgian who’d found me on My Space. Turns out, he’s played my music on the radio and in the Belgian airlines for years. So, Greece and Belgium were our anchor points. Once we were there, we got more shows. Where did you learn to rock climb? At Stone Hill, outside of Eureka, with my dad when I was four. That place is beautiful. I struggled when I was younger, because I had knee issues. I’ve had a bunch of surgeries.
To see a video of Jessica Kilroy performing or hear Pterodactyl Plains’s electronic folk, visit explorebigsky.com.
Your music has been changing. Country, folk and bluegrass are very traditional, especially if you’re writing songs for other people and for radio. I wanted to get out of that box. Two years ago, Kier Atherton and I started collaborating. He takes roots instruments (like dulcimer and lupit) and loops it, mixing it with 90 Mountain
like a major scouting mission, based on shows, and a little bit of rock climbing in the Pyranees, in Spain, which was amazing. We’re going again this year.
“Country, folk and bluegrass are very traditional, especially if you’re writing songs for other people and for radio. I wanted to get out of that box.”
Have you climbed recently? Last fall, my brother Jason and I were on a mission to go climbing. We got stuck in a snowstorm outside of Driggs, Idaho, and had to sleep in the car. Then we got snowed out of Red Rocks, Nevada, and climbed in New Mexico and Cochise Stronghold, Arizona. How was driving limos? I was in a bluegrass band in Bozeman, the Tall Boys, for a little while. They all drove limousines, and they hooked me up a job driving for Classic Limo. People always thought I was a stripper when I’d roll up. It got awkward a couple of times. Do you play music when you’re on the road climbing? I play the ukulele. I wrote the song, Horizon, on the way to Yosemite. You do everything by memory? Lyrics I write down, but the music I remember. It’s all by feeling.
A finalist at Telluride – that’s big. It’s ridiculous to compete with music, but it helps me get bigger theater shows. I played with Sam Bush on the main stage, which was awesome. Do you play clubs in Europe? Pterodactyl Plains plays clubs. It’s so different—very physical. We do a lot of percussive playing. I’ll be hitting the walls with sticks, jumping up and down. Tell me about ‘In the Air’, Pterodactyl Plains’s new album. We wrote it while we were touring. It’s about the constant movement of the musical life and how appreciative we are to have Montana as home. Do you miss Montana when you’re gone? Europe was awesome, but felt like I was constantly with millions of people in the street, on a bus, in the subway, on a train… I was going
insane. When we got back I moved into a cabin in the woods. What do you do when you visit Bozeman? Cactus Records is my favorite place in the world to loiter. I love buying vinyl. I also visit Gibson Guitars. What’s one of your favorite songs you’ve written? ‘Love don’t make mistakes’, a song about how hard it is to keep a relationship when you’re constantly travelling. When I wrote it, I was writing in Nashville, thinking of moving there, and working on a publishing deal. I couldn’t hold down a relationship. This song is about forgiveness and being OK with letting go. jessicakilroy.com See more of Michael Clark’s photography at michaelclarkphoto.com
FOOD & DINING
H arvest in
Southwest M o n ta n a
By Matt Rothschiller Southwest Montana is not the easiest place to be a produce farmer. In spring, just when a patch of dirt appears, another heavy snowfall blankets our fields. Our beautiful summers are short, and fall can come early. Fortunately, working in the greenhouses and cold frames lets us get our hands in the dirt even during cold spells, keeping us sane with seeding, weeding, and even providing an early spring harvest of tasty cold hardy greens and root crops. The cold weather keeps them sweet! At Gallatin Valley Botanical, we start harvesting our November seeding of cold hardy spinach from our cold frames in mid March, and radishes, turnips, Mesclun, chard and kale are ready in April and May from winter seeding. Find all of these crops, plus lettuce heads, herbs, green onions and green garlic, asparagus, rhubarb, broccoli and cabbages at farmers markets in early June. Beets and carrots come on next, but because the last spring frosts are in late May, tomatoes, basil, summer squash, and other field grown warm weather crops aren’t available until late June. Corn, peppers, and eggplant are ready in July and August, and then it’s back to the other side of summer’s cool weather crops: Brussels sprouts, winter squash, potatoes, onion and cabbage. Kale, chard, spinach, and other cold hardy greens are available almost year round in Montana. When we eat them in abundance, we embody their hardiness and vitality. Use greens in salads. Try a chiffonade (cutting the greens into strips) of kale, sauté as a side dish, or add to omelets or pastas. Don’t be surprised if kids like them!
W h e r e to f i n d l o c a l f o o d Before the local Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) farms start their season in early June or the summer farmers markets open up, early season crops can be found at select local restaurants and groceries and at online farmers markets. Local food online: fielddayfarms.com and bigsky.luluslocalfood.com both offer farm fresh produce, meats, bread, and dairy and deliver year round to Bozeman, Big Sky, Harrison, Livingston and West Yellowstone. These online markets are easy to shop and offer a customized selection for the consumer. For us farmers, they provide a flexible market for the harvests that our climate will allow, especially in the spring. Farmers’ markets: Most small communities have farmers’ markets if there are farmers in the vicinity. They offer a great social scene with music, food, and crafts, and are the best way to get in touch with the many small farms of Southwest Montana whose only outlet is their local market. Area farmers’ markets open this year on Wednesday evening, June 1 in Livingston, Tuesday evening June 7 at Bogert Farmers Market in Bozeman, Saturday morning June 11 at the Ennis Farmers Market, and Saturday morning June 18 at the Bozeman Fairgrounds.
More farmers’ markets open up in July when summer’s bounty really provides: Wednesday evenings in Big Sky and Manhattan, Saturday mornings in Belgrade, and Saturday mornings in Livingston. Most of these markets run through September. After that, the only farmers’ market around is the Bozeman Winter Farmers Market, biweekly at the Emerson Cultural Center from October through April. Dillon, Boulder, Twin Bridges and Virginia City all have summer markets, as well. At least seven CSAs offer produce to Bozeman, and at least two deliver to Big Sky, Livingston, and West Yellowstone. Check online at localharvest.org, a farm search engine with details of local CSA farms, and be sure to talk directly with the farmers about production methods and anticipated harvest. At Gallatin Valley Botanical, members pay up front or monthly to receive a weekly supply of our best vegetables that are in season for 18 weeks. We promise to grow our produce well, in a healthy manner, and to provide an abundance for our members to share with friends and families. gallatinvalleybotanical.com
ecipe: W hite bean , kale , orzo and ham soup
1.5 c white beans 1 bay leaf 1 ham hock 1.5 c orzo pasta
1 c of cipollini onion ¾ c finely diced carrot olive oil and butter to taste 2 cloves minced garlic oregano, thyme 1 bunch kale
Bring beans to a boil for one minute, cover, and let sit for an hour or two. Rinse beans, add bay leaf and ham hock to the beans, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for an hour or so, until the meat falls off of the bone. Remove the hock from the stockpot, and simmer until the beans are done. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta, ham, and kale. In a separate pot, prepare orzo pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside. Pull the meat off of the bone, discard any gristle or fat, and chop the meat into ½” or smaller dice. Sauté Cipollini onion
(they make a difference!) and diced carrot on high heat with a bit of olive oil and butter until translucent. Reduce heat to low and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally until they caramelize. Season with oregano and thyme and add one or two large cloves of minced garlic, stir for one minute. Bring up the heat, chiffonade kale, again removing stems and thinly slicing if the kale is large, and add to the onions for two minutes or so, and add the sautéed vegetables to the beans. Add the meat and orzo, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve.
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Cala mity J ane BY HUNTER ROTHWELL Deadwood in the 1870s is synonymous with the American Wild West. Then part of the Dakota Territory, it was a lawless town that attracted every kind of Victorian Age character. One of the most memorable was a hard drinking woman who wore men’s clothing, fought, chewed tobacco, smoked cigars, and was handy with a gun and a bullwhip. One night during Deadwood’s boom years, “Calamity Jane” and her gunslinger friend Arkansas Tom attended a sold-out theater performance by the Lard Players. Calamity Jane was sorely disappointed with the plot’s unhappy outcome, so as the play ended, she stood and let fly a long stream of tobacco juice, hitting the female star square in the eye. Arkansas Tom hollered and shot out the lamps. The crowd went wild, and the two marched out of the building to the cheers of the audience. Life was never dull when Calamity Jane was in town. Martha Jane Cannary was born sometime between 1852 and 1856 in Princeton, Missouri. The eldest of six, dark-eyed Martha Jane was a tomboy who loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing, riding and playing with guns. As a young girl, she was very pretty, but because her family was poor, she had no formal education and was illiterate. Just after the Civil War, in 1865, Robert Cannary caught “Western fever,” with the hope and reward promised by the territories. Robert and his wife Charlotte packed the children and joined a wagon train traveling from Missouri to Virginia City, Montana. The trip took five months. “The greater portion of my time was spent in hunting along with the men and hunters of the party,” wrote Jane in her autobiography. “I was at all times with the men when there was excitement and adventures to be had. By the time we reached Virginia City, I was considered a remarkable good shot and a fearless rider for a girl my age.” She was about 13, and could already “cuss as fiercely as any man” and had “learned to like the taste of whiskey.” Tragedy hit in Black Foot, Montana, in 1866, when Charlotte died of “washtub pneumonia,” a general diagnosis for respiratory problems associated with women working as laundresses in coal mining camps. Robert and the children eventually settled on a 40-acre plot in Salt Lake City, Utah. Robert passed away the next year.The oldest child, Martha Jane was now responsi96 Mountain
Starting in 1870, Martha Jane began working for the U.S. government. Before she was 20, General Crook appointed her a scout under Buffalo Bill Cody. “From that time on, her life was pretty lively,” recounted Cody. “She had unlimited nerve, and entered into the work with enthusiasm, doing good service on a number of occasions.” Working as a scout, Jane was involved in campaigns into the territories, mostly efforts to move Native Americans onto reservations. Because she wore the uniform of a soldier, she was rarely recognized as a woman. She earned the name Calamity Jane during this time. She recounts that while on campaign in Goose Creek,
Jane in 1901
Wyoming (now Sheridan), she rescued Captain Egan after he was shot. On returning to the Fort, Egan declared, “I name you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains.” However, Calamity Jane was known to embellish on occasion, and according to the St. Paul Dispatch, “She got her name from a faculty she has had of producing a ruction at any S h e wa s a b o u t 1 3 , and could already “ c u s s a s f i e r c e ly as any man” and had “learned to l i k e t h e ta s t e o f w h i s k e y. ” time and place and on short notice.” In Jane’s own words, to mess with her was to “court calamity.” She certainly lived up to the moniker. In spring 1876, Calamity Jane met Wild Bill Hickok in Fort Laramie. She joined the wagon train and arrived in Deadwood that June. There, she worked as a Pony Express rider on the rough 50-mile trail between Deadwood and Custer. Making the trip every two days, she was never held up or robbed like other riders, nor did the Sioux Indians bother her. Jane’s list of offenses included drunken and disorderly conduct (on too many occasions to count), prostitution, shoplifting, running up store credit with no intention of paying, and running through the streets naked while
drunk. But she helped any person who was down and out, giving them her last dollar, and there is no evidence she ever ruthlessly killed anyone.
ble for her younger brothers and sisters. Once again, the family packed up, and by 1868 they’d settled in Piedmont, Wyoming. Barely in her mid-teens, Martha Jane worked as a dishwasher, a cook, a waitress, a dance-hall girl, a nurse, an ox team driver, and began her on-and-off employment as a prostitute at Fort Laramie’s Three-Mile Hog Ranch. Ultimately she had to find homes to adopt her youngest siblings.
In 1878, a small pox epidemic hit Deadwood and eight men were quarantined. According to Jane’s occasional employer, Madam DuFran, “Jane volunteered to care for them... three of the men died, and she buried them, she recited the prayer ‘Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.’ Her good nursing brought five of these men out of the shadow of death, and many more later on, before the disease died out.” The Deadwood community knew Jane as a kind and loving individual, and for her tremendous acts of kindness, the town put up with her antics.
“On one occasion,” reported the Bozeman, Montana Avant Courier, “The cowboys in a saloon in Oakes, North Dakota, began to ‘chaff’ her. Cannary smiled, whipped out two revolvers, shouting, ‘Dance you tenderfeet, dance.’ Dance they did, with much vigor. Calamity Jane was not a person to be trifled with.” By 1881, Jane was settled in Miles City, Montana, along the Yellowstone River. There, she raised stock and cattle and ran a wayside inn where, according to Jane, “The weary traveler could be accommodated with food drink, or trouble if he looked for it.” Jane endured a rough, uncivilized, masculine world. She retired to Deadwood in 1901 after a last riding and shooting appearance at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. When she died in her early 50s, she looked 100. The famous woman scout of the Wild West was buried next to Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery, as her last request.
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Published on Jun 3, 2011
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